There is much more to Italy than pasta and pizza. Although deservedly popular, it is the vegetable dishes of Italy that surprise with their creativity. With great weather and fertile land it is no surprise that we can find such a wide spectrum of vegetables. Fennel, with its aniseed flavor, sliced thinly and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice or served caramelized on top of bruschetta, it is something unique. The eggplant is extremely popular in Italy where it is cooked in various ways but finds its zenith with Sicilian caponata, a sweet and sour salad of eggplants. Bright green zucchinis are prepared in tortes or sautéed with garlic and herbs. Basil, that most Italian herb, gets transformed into that unforgettable preparation of pesto.
This dish of Piedmontese peppers is my staple lunch in hot summer days. It is also a great recipe to cook for large parties.
- 4 red peppers
- 4-6 ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 8 anchovies, packed in olive oil, chopped in two
- 2 tbsp. capers, rinsed
- 1 small handful of basil leaves
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas 6.
Cut the peppers in half trying to maintain the stalk intact and remove the seeds. Lay the peppers in a roasting dish.
Place tomato quarters in each pepper half until full. Tuck a few garlic slices into each. Tear the basil and tuck in, tuck in two anchovy halves and a bit of capers. Follow with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper.
Roast the peppers for 30 minutes or until they are starting to blacken around the edges. Alternatively steam for 15 minutes. Eat hot, or room temperature with crusty baguette.