Easy Italian Peperonata

published Jun 19, 2022
Peperonata Recipe

This saucy mix of ultra tender bell peppers, garlic, and herbs is an Italian classic.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 3 cups

Prep10 minutes

Cook38 minutes to 40 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

You’ll find sweet bell peppers in a rainbow of colors at the farmers market this time of year. I can’t help but cart home at least a few of each. While there are

endless ways

What Is Peperonata?

Peperonata is a dish of stewed bell peppers with origins in Southern Italy. Recipes vary wildly, but sweet summer bell peppers are always the star. They’re typically sautéed with onion and garlic in plenty of olive oil and simmered until very soft and tender either with fresh tomatoes or in a light tomato sauce made from tomato paste or passata. Chopped fresh basil, oregano, or parsley is also included to provide brightness.

How to Serve Peperonata

Peperonata is the kind of dish that has endless applications. It’s also as fabulous hot and fresh as it cold straight out of the fridge a few days later. Although there’s practically no wrong way to enjoy peperonata, here are a handful of great options.

  • Serve it over or alongside grilled or roasted meats and fish.
  • Pile it on thickly sliced toast that’s been slathered with ricotta or soft goat cheese.
  • Spoon it over cooked farro, orzo, rice, or creamy polenta and top it with a fried egg.
  • Toss it with your favorite shape of pasta.
  • Stir it into risotto at the very end of cooking.
  • Tuck it into a grilled cheese.
  • Use it as a pizza topping.

How to Store Peperonata

Peperonata lasts for up to five days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. Enjoy it cold, let it come to room temperature, or rewarm it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Peperonata Recipe

This saucy mix of ultra tender bell peppers, garlic, and herbs is an Italian classic.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 38 minutes to 40 minutes

Makes about 3 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    large bell peppers (about 2 1/2 pounds total), preferably a mix of red, orange, and yellow

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 3 cloves


  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup


  • 3 sprigs

    fresh oregano, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar


  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as it is completed: Stem, seed, and thinly slice 4 large bell peppers. Thinly slice 1 small yellow onion. Thinly slice 3 garlic cloves.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch high-sided skillet or a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the bell peppers mixture, season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened but still crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and sautè until the vegetables are coated and the paste darkens in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Add 1 of the fresh oregano sprigs and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired. Stir to combine. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the peppers are very soft and tender, 25 to 27 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, strip the leaves from the remaining 2 fresh oregano sprigs and coarsely chop.

  5. When the peppers are ready, remove the pan from the heat. Discard the oregano sprig. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Garnish with chopped oregano. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.