Italian Peperonata sauce, a rustic Calabrese sauce of stewed bell peppers, tomatoes and onions that lends itself to variations. Sometimes eggplant, zucchini and even potatoes are added, traditionally served tossed with pasta like rigatoni, over a bed of creamy polenta or homemade bruschetta.
What is Peperonata ?
Technically a red pepper stew that doubles down as a sauce thanks to the generosity of saucy heirloom tomatoes. Feel free to customize yours with whatever produce you fancy.
I used both purple onions and leeks to build deep layers of flavor, you can use one or the other or whatever onion variety is hanging in your pantry at this time.
This Classic Italian Peperonata Sauce is Everything:
Simply the Best!
Italian Peperonata Sauce Recipe
Italian Peperonata sauce, a rustic Southern Italian sauce of stewed bell peppers, tomatoes and onions that lends itself to variations. Sometimes eggplant, zucchini and even potatoes are added, traditionally served tossed with pasta like rigatoni, over a bed of creamy polenta or homemade bruschetta.
- 3 bell peppers (mixed colors) -cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1.5 lb heirloom tomatoes -mixed variety
- 1 small leek -sliced and rinsed well
- 1 purple onion -sliced
- 2 cloves garlic -chopped
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 lemon -juiced
- 1/3 cup fresh herbs (basil, oregano, chives)
- 2 tbsp water
Heat up a large skillet over medium low flame and saute the leeks with a pinch of sea salt in a splash of water until wilted (about 10 minutes). Add the purple onions and bell peppers and cook another 5 minutes until the peppers start to soften. Stir in the garlic and give everything a good stir.
Meanwhile cut the tomatoes into wedges and add them to the skillet with the peppers. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook another 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes release all their juice and a nice sauce forms.
Squeeze the juice of half the lemon into the peperonata stew, taste and season with more sea salt and lemon juice.
Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and serve with your favorite pasta, over polenta or a crusty piece of bread.
If you haven't transitioned to a WFPB diet and prefer to use olive oil in the recipe, just make sure to wait and add it at the very end after you remove the Peperonata from the flame. Use a cold pressed variety and use sparingly without heating it up.