Peperonata is a wonderful Italian summer dish made by slow cooking peppers in a rich tomato sauce. Serve as antipasto, a sauce for pasta, or as a relish for grilled and barbecued meats.
Peperonata is a popular summer dish in Italy, when peppers are at their best.
It’s prepared using bell peppers, onions and tomatoes simmered together to produce a sweet, tangy dish with rich flavour.
The beautiful vibrant colours and fresh flavours of this simple dish delight the senses, and it is often enjoyed as an antipasto with crusty bread, or as a sauce for pasta.
The slight acidity also makes this a great side for grilled meats and fish, or as a relish in a burger/sandwich.
Peperonata tastes even better when prepared several hours ahead as this allows the flavours to really come together. I always make a large batch to keep in the fridge for a delicious easy addition to dishes or snacks.
Across Italy there are many regional variations to this dish, but this is the version we like the most.
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Italian food is all about using top quality ingredients for great flavour.
Select firm glossy red, yellow, orange or green peppers.
We like to use red onions as they have a milder and sweeter flavour, but white ones work well too.
Use a good brand of canned tomatoes, we like the fresh flavour of Cirio chopped tomatoes.
Capers are optional, so you can leave them out, but they do add an extra layer of flavour to the dish.
Dry salted capers have a more intense flavour compared with those sold in vinegar or brine. To use salted capers, rinse them first in a bowl of water to remove excess salt before adding them to the dish.
Tear rather than chop the basil leaves, into halves or quarters for maximum flavour, before adding them to the dish.
To finish, drizzle over some olive oil before serving.
There is a huge difference between a good quality olive oil and the cheaper varieties which do not have good flavour when served as a dressing. Check out these tips on How to Select A Good Quality Olive Oil .
Heat the oil and garlic together to slowly release the garlic flavour. This is better than adding garlic to hot oil as it will cook too quickly and burn, spoiling the dish with a very unpleasant and bitter flavour.
Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed, alongside grilled/bbq meats, in a burger, stirred into pasta or simply with warm bread.
Make ahead and storing
This is a great make ahead dish as the flavours really come together while resting.
Prepare in advance then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week (the olive oil helps preserve the freshness), or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic sliced thin
- 2 medium onions sliced thin, red or white
- 4 whole bell peppers (or approx. 600g) a combination of red, yellow, orange or green peppers
- 230 grams Italian tomato sauce 1 cup, or canned tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar red or white
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ¾ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 4 leaves basil garnish (optional)
- olive oil for drizzling
- Cut 4 whole bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and white pith, then slice the peppers into thin strips.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil together with 4 cloves garlic till softened on medium-low heat.
- Add 2 medium onions sliced, increasing heat to medium and sauté till softened and translucent, but not brown.
- Add the sliced peppers then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in 230 grams Italian tomato sauce, ¾ teaspoon salt and add ¼ teaspoon oregano, then simmer uncovered on low heat for 15 minutes*, till the sauce has reduced.
- Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon capers. Tear 4 leaves basil into quarters and stir them into the peperonata. Serve warm or at room temperature with a drizzle of good quality olive oiland some crusty bread.
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Nutritional information is calculated automatically and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information above is an estimate per serving.
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