Peperonata sounds so much nicer than capsicum stew doesn’t it! It’s a long-hot-summer kind of dish, best eaten at room temperature or … even on the cold side. It is a side dish, a “contorno” but it is ruinous for those who wish to avoid eating bread with their meal. La peperonata simply craves bread to mop up all the sauce towards the end … so be warned!
What you see here are some red onions (the kind that come from Calabria, called “cipolle di Tropea”, a sugar bowl, and — in the glass jar — some previously made tomato sauce. I wasn’t going to waste it. You can use mushed up plum tomatoes out of a can, or even fresh tomatoes if you prefer. Beautiful olive oil in the saucepan with a few pepper kernels. Slice the onions or chop them … and start sautéing them on a fairly low heat. You don’t want the onions to brown. While the onions are cooking, you can slice up the capsicum/peppers and remove the seeds and any white parts on the inside. Cut the peppers into ribbon shapes … Add them to the onions that have by now become very soft.Sprinkle a little salt and sugar, mix well.
Cover and stew for about 20 minutes, again over a low heat. This is what they look like at this stage, they’ve gone soft. Now add the tomato sauce. Sprinkle a little more salt and sugar directly over the tomato sauce.Cover and carry on stewing for another 10 minutes.
It’s hard to describe the scent … but you can see how “thick” the consistency is. It is not supposed to be “watery”, even though the peppers are practically swimming in the sauce. Add basil leaves and serve. What gorgeous colours, aren’t they just! Vibrant and juicy …