Sides

La Peperonata – Bell Peppers in Tomato Sauce

May 14, 2020 by Emily

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La Peperonata is an incredibly delicious Italian summer dish made with slow-cooked bell peppers in a beautiful tomato sauce. This simple side dish can be served hot or cold, with meat or fish or as an antipasto with some char-grilled ciabatta.

An overhead shot of peperonata on a serving plate

La Peperonata is one of my favourite Italian sides and you’ll notice that it varies from town and region if you ever try it in Italy.

Some recipes are made simply with just bell peppers, onion, garlic and tomatoes and nothing more and some add in some capers, olives, red pepper flakes or fresh herbs.

This is our own version which is super simple yet packed with flavour and you can choose to use jarred tomatoes or fresh depending on the season.

A close up of the texture of peppers in tomato sauce

How to make La Peperonata – step by step

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a saute pan or deep skillet on a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and whole garlic cloves and saute, stirring often until the onion has softened (about 5 minutes) (photos 1 & 2).

Add the sliced bell peppers and stir to coat in the oil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the peppers for 25 minutes until tender but not completely soft (photos 3 & 4).

Step by step photos showing how to cook peppers and onions

Add the strained tomatoes (passata), water, capers, vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir to mix everything together (photo 5).

Simmer the Peperonata uncovered for 15 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the sauce has reduced. Taste to see if it needs any additional salt then serve as a side or antipasto (photos 6-8).

Step by step photos showing how to make peperonata

Serving suggestions

There are endless ways to serve this recipe, in the summer it’s the perfect addition to barbecues served alongside grilled meats or fish. Our Chicken Spiedini, Breaded Chicken Cutlets or Florentine Steak recipes would be great serving options.

You can also serve it on top of creamy polenta or enjoy it at room temperature with chargrilled ciabatta bread, cured meats and cheese, delicious!

How to serve it as a pasta sauce

You can also serve it as a pasta sauce but the best way is to blend it first using a regular or immersion blender so it’s smooth and creamy but packed with incredible flavour!

Toss it with whatever pasta you like!

A close up of peppers in tomato sauce on a serving plate

Top tips for making La Peperonata

  • Cooking the peppers covered is important so they soften without burning. If you don’t have a lid for your skillet then place a large baking sheet on top.
  • You can use any coloured bell peppers you like but don’t use all green ones if you can help it because they aren’t as sweet and have a more savoury flavour.
  • Instead of adding capers and vinegar you can add things like olives, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley or basil or leave them all out. How you flavour it is up to you!
  • You can use strained tomatoes, canned chopped or plum tomatoes (high quality) or fresh ripe tomatoes to make this. If using fresh tomatoes you’ll need around 4 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes (roughly 600g).
  • The Peperonata will keep well in the fridge for around 3-4 days or can be frozen in suitable containers.

More Italian sides you might like

If you tried this Peperonata Recipe or any other recipes on my blog please be sure to leave me a comment below to let me know how you got on, I love hearing from you. You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
Peppers in tomato sauce on a serving plate
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5 from 1 vote

La Peperonata

La Peperonata is an incredibly delicious Italian summer dish made with slow-cooked bell peppers in a beautiful tomato sauce. This simple side dish can be served hot or cold, with meat or fish or as an antipasto with some char-grilled ciabatta.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 91kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large bell peppers different colours sliced (around 900g-1kg)
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled but left whole
  • 1.5 cups jarred strained tomatoes (passata) (500g)
  • 1/2 cup water (120ml)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a saute pan or deep skillet on a medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and whole garlic cloves and saute, stirring often until the onion has softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the sliced bell peppers and stir to coat in the oil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the peppers for 25 minutes until tender but not completely soft.
  • Add the strained tomatoes, water, caper, vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir to mix everything together.
  • Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the sauce has reduced. Taste to see if it needs any additional salt then serve as a side or antipasto.

Notes

  • Cooking the peppers covered is important so they soften without burning. If you don't have a lid for your skillet then place a large baking sheet on top.
  • You can use any coloured bell peppers you like but don't use all green ones if you can help it because they aren't as sweet and have a more savoury flavour.
  • Instead of adding capers and vinegar you can add things like olives, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley or basil or leave them all out. How you flavour it is up to you!
  • You can use strained tomatoes, canned chopped or plum tomatoes (high quality) or fresh ripe tomatoes to make this. If using fresh tomatoes you'll need around 4 cups of freshly chopped tomatoes (roughly 600g).
  • The Peperonata will keep well in the fridge for around 3-4 days or can be frozen in suitable containers.

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 552mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4045IU | Vitamin C: 160mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    May 15, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    I just love this! It reminds me of my childhood, so versatile and always delicious! Your photo makes me want to make it today!! Yum!5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      May 15, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Aw I love when food reminds you of happy memories. I hope you enjoy it just as much as you remember! 🙂

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