This is one of those recipes that everybody has probably heard of at some stage of their foodie life but have never actually made it especially in Ireland and that would include me. I’ve seen so many different recipes over the years as there are a lot of different versions, some use aubergines, other use black olives or anchovies but this one from Angela Hartnetts book is just a simple, easy recipe using just peppers and tomatoes so I decided it was time to try it out!! I’ve never had it before as Bruno’s mother always makes a roast pepper salad when using peppers which is absolutely divine, I tried this salad once but myself and the roast peppers did not get on very well. I was about 9 months pregnant carrying the 10 pounder princess( I kid you not and she was a week early)  and I think it took me about an hour to peel the bloody peppers and there were only 4 of them – I might as well have ran a marathon I was so tired after it. All the recipes tell you to cover them with cling film, run them under cold water etc etc to help with the peeling process but nothing worked for me.

Naturally I was traumatised since so I have stayed away from peppers until I was in Aldi last week and saw these lovely long yellow and red peppers – I don’t remember the technical name for them. I have to say Aldi and Lidl do a better selection of vegetables than any Supermarket and everything was from Europe unlike my local Supermarket where the cherries are from the U.S and the asparagus is from Peru???? If Aldi can source from Europe why can’t Dunnes and Superquinn?? In saying that I managed to get into the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and there really is such a great selection of vegetables and I bought way too much of course – I was checking the Silver Spoon for recipes for carrots today I have so many!! It’s a pleasure to actually wash the dirt off the potatoes and carrots instead of taking them out of a pre-packed bag. We were just saying it would be great if the market was a permanent fixture like The English Market in Cork, you would never have to shop for veg in a Supermarket again.

This recipe is really simple but the most important factor in Pepperonata is the cooking time, you have to let it simmer for over an hour to truly get the intense flavours. I made it during the day and then had it that night with some grilled Italian sausage and Italian bread rubbed with some garlic and olive oil – absolutely delicious, even the “MIL” (mother-in-law)would have been proud:)

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 red peppers, seeded and chopped into big chunks.
  • 3 yellow peppers, seeded and chopped into big chunks.
  • 1 x 400g can plum or cherry tomatoes- use an Italian brand if you can!!
  • small handful chopped flat leaf parsley
  • small handful chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper

WHAT TO DO:

 – heat the olive oil in the pan and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent, but without colouring, this takes about 3-4 mins.

 – add the peppers and cook gently until softened, again avoiding any colouring.

 – season to taste and add the tomatoes. Continue to cook over a low heat until the peppers are soft, this takes about 1 hour and 20 mins. If the peppers look dry add some water, I did this a few times.

 – remove from the pan and stir in your parsley and basil.

– you could serve it with meat, monk fish or just simply with crostini or toasted ciabatta!

BUON APPETITO!!

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