Peperonata

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!Like many (dare I say most) Italian recipes, Peperonata falls into the “easy to prepare” and “few ingredients” categories.  After all, this dish is simply bell peppers, onions and tomatoes sautéed in olive oil until soft.  Sure, there are some seasonings, a bit of garlic and a handful of fresh basil leaves, but for the most part this recipe is very simple.  The key, though, is good quality ingredients.  As with all recipes featuring few ingredients, the flavor comes from using the best quality ingredients you can afford.

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!In the case of Peperonata, the tomatoes, bell peppers and onions stand alone.  For the most part, a bell pepper is a bell pepper.  There is no such thing as a ‘fancy red bell pepper.’  Ok, so don’t select the pepper that you dropped on the floor at the grocery store and then rolled over with your cart.  Other than that, you should be all set.  The quality component for this recipe comes in when we look at the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Peperonata

Whenever olive oil is used for cooking, I typically use a moderately-priced oil.  (Whenever olive oil is used for drizzling on top of a finished dish, I’ll typically reach for the nicer bottle.)  The olive oil industry has long been under intense scrutiny.  It turns out that many ‘olive oils’ out on the market are really just a blend of lower quality sunflower oil that is packaged under the name olive oil.  (In 2019, Europol seized 150,000 liters of fraudulent olive oil bound for Germany.)

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!So how do you know if the bottle of olive oil on the grocery store shelf is really a good quality olive oil?  One sure-fire method is to look for the DOP or IGP label on the bottle that signifies the product’s origin.  (If you’re interested in this topic, check out this post where I delved deeper into this topic – and grab a tasty Tuscan White Beans recipe while you’re there, too!)

Another important factor in terms of quality?  The age of the olive oil.  A former olive oil specialist at Eataly pointed out that olive oil should be sold in the produce section rather that on a shelf.  It’s made from pressed olives, so “it’s closer to a raw juice than a cooking oil.”  Unlike wine and food bloggers, olive oil does not improve with age.  So get a nice bottle of olive oil – and then use it!

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!On the other hand, balsamic vinegar does improve with age.  A tablespoon of balsamic gets stirred into this Peperonata recipe after it’s done cooking.  This is a perfect example of where you can use a good quality balsamic vinegar.  And of course, don’t forget a good crusty baguette for serving!

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!On the note of serving, it’s important to note that Peperonata can be used in dozens of ways.  Most simply, it can be spooned on top of bread for a tasty (and easy) appetizer.  However, Peperonata can also be served alongside grilled chicken or pork.  It can be used as a topping for a sandwich – perhaps as part of this Antipasta Grilled Cheese!  One of our favorite ways to use Peperonata?  Stir it into pasta along with a pound of hot Italian sausage.  Talk about flavor!

No matter how you use it, I hope you enjoy this easy and versatile recipe.  Cheers!

Did you make a batch of this Peperonata at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see how you use it!

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!

Peperonata

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 111kcal

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion cut into ¼” slices
  • 6 large bell peppers cut into ¼” slices (I used 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 orange)
  • 24 oz. Roma tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves torn (plus more for garnishing)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • {optional} ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • {for serving} crusty Italian bread

Instructions

  • Using a large saucepan or deep skillet, add olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Once hot, add onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and {optional} red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.
  • Cover and cook on medium-low for 30-60 minutes. (Note: The time varies on how soft you prefer the peppers. I generally aim for about 40-45 minutes.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with additional fresh basil.

Notes

Peperonata can be served by itself with a loaf of crusty bread. It can also be served alongside grilled chicken or pork, used as a topping on sandwiches or mixed into pasta.

Peperonata is a classic Italian recipe using slow-cooked bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Eat it on crusty bread or mixed into pasta!

Looking for more tasty Italian recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Packed with a variety of Italian meats and cheeses, this Antipasta Grilled Cheese is like a delicious appetizer platter...just in a cheesy, sandwich form!Antipasta Grilled Cheese

These Tuscan White Beans are a simple, yet delicious Italian recipe featuring white beans, olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes and a bit of fresh sage.  Enjoy!Tuscan White Beans

These Italian Prosciutto Panini start with a classic Tuscan bread called schiacciata.  Add in some Prosciutto di Parma, marinated artichokes and Pecorino Romano, and you've got a delicious sandwich!Italian Prosciutto Panini

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24 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon can i skip bell peppers as am not a big fan of bell peppers can i use eggplant zucchini and mauhrooms instead i love italian food soooooooooooo much first savory recipe of the week and finally a savory recipe perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. This really is an easy savory recipe, Ramya! If you aren’t a fan of bell peppers, I would imagine eggplant would work well here, too. The point is slow simmered veggies with basil and garlic. It works well by itself (on bread) or mixed into pasta!

  2. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had peperonata, David! It seems like it’d go on just about anything I’d make, all through summer. I didn’t know that little scandal about fake olive oil!

    1. Yeah, fake olive oil is a real thing. I mean I guess any industry with expensive products is susceptible to fakes…and olive oil isn’t safe there. Either way, peperonata is a good one. Fun to eat on toasty bread or mixed right into pasta!

  3. 5 stars
    Peperonata really is such a versatile condiment, as you said, for spreading on bread and mixing in to pasta. Yours looks so fresh and delicious, I could just eat it with a spoon!

    1. Thanks, Marissa! Not only is peperonata versatile, but it’s SO easy to make. Perfect for making a big batch and then using it in different ways. Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    Oh yeah this is 100% delicious (Not approved by Daisy, though.) While I never had specifically Peperonata, there are many delicious variations common in Europe, especially in Bulgaria and Russia. So easy and so fresh – perfect with some crusty bread to soak up the juices! (And with prosciutto on the side, for Daisy lol.)

    1. Haha – you’re right, Ben. I don’t think Daisy would approve of this recipe. 🙂 And, yes, this is one of those classic, easy recipes that seems to exist in every culture. The basil puts this one into the Italian realm for me…although I can’t deny your point about prosciutto on the side!

  5. oh don’t those capsicums look beautiful!! so glossy, so pretty, so colourful… yes it stinks about all the fake olive oils; that’s why i buy from indie olive farms – more chance of the real stuff. your peperonata looks delish david!

  6. my comment vanished. just saying this looks the bomb – colourful and gorgeous and tasty. i buy olive oil from farms so i get the real stuff!!

    1. So I don’t think that original comment vanished entirely as I see it above. Perhaps it was just playing hide-and-seek for a couple of minutes?? Odd, but either way it’s still there!

    1. Ah, yes, I love that idea of adding peperonata on a sandwich or quesadilla. What a fun and unique way to bring flavor! And it’s just so darned easy to make, too…thanks, Kathy!

    1. Haha! Your fridge and I share a connection, Michelle. 🙂 I hope you like this one. It’s easy and versatile…and a great way to use up extra peppers!

  7. 5 stars
    This is the kinda thing hubby and I would love to sit down with on Friday or Saturday night with some crusty bread and wine! Talk about flavour! I would love to give this a try. Sounds too yummy to miss! Hope you have a great week 🙂

    1. I’m all about the crusty bread and wine, Dawn! Can we follow it up with a glass of bourbon? 🙂 But you’re right…this is an easy recipe that’s packed with flavor. It can be used in a bunch of different ways! Hope you have a great week ahead, my friend!

  8. 5 stars
    What a great recipe, David! I definitely am going to make some Peperonata! I love this stuff! and to make my own? Awesome! And, I also agree about nicely aged food bloggers – we’re so becoming like that fine balsamic, don’t you think? (Speaking of myself in the aged category of course.)

    1. Haha – I’m glad you caught that line about aged food bloggers. 🙂 I cracked myself up writing that one. (Hey, it’s the little things, right??) And, yes, Peperonata is quite tasty. It’s so simple, but it brings such a punch of flavor. Thanks, Laura!

  9. Ah yes, quality oils make a difference! When I was in your neck of the woods a few months back, I visited Lake George Olive Oil Co and got a bunch of great stuff 🙂 Have you checked them out before?

    Anyways, I love how Italians cook.. high-quality, fresh ingredients but not too complicated.. and this is my kind of dish!

    1. I don’t think I’ve been in the Lake George Olive Oil Co, but I have been in the Saratoga Olive Oil Co. I’m not sure if they have the same owner, but the concept is the same. I found it fascinating to try different olive oils from different countries…the tastes were so unique!

      I’m with you on Italian food, too, Nicole. If I had to pick just one cuisine, it would be Italian. Hands-down.

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