We’re so thrilled to bring you a recipe from Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s new book A Year of Simple Family Food. Julia’s Ostro cookbook is a firm favourite around here, and this gorgeous peperonata recipe is proof that Julia’s second book will be just as addictive as her first. Julia just instinctively knows what ‘real people’ like to cook and eat.
Peperonata is a case in point. It’s the perfect dish for summer weekend lunches or dinners. We’re talking all the big flavours of the season – capsicums, oregano, basil and tomatoes; plus it’s one of those forgiving dishes that allows you to throw everything in and let the stove gently simmer it into deliciousness. Matter of fact, easy dishes that are packed with flavour are a specialty of Julia’s cooking. A Year of Simple Family Food is basically a year of bloody good eating. Not fussy, daunting recipes, but good food the family will look forward to preparing and eating.
Enjoy this peperonata dish and don’t hesitate to grab a copy of Julia’s new book (it’s currently over 25% off at Booktopia!). You won’t regret it.
Try this for dinner too: Cheat’s cassoulet (the family will love this moreishly good recipe)
Peperonata is such a versatile dish. Served simply with bread, stirred through pasta, as a topping for pizza, stuffed into a panino, served on top of polenta and, maybe most obviously, as a side dish to meat or fish – I especially like it with swordfish. Use red and yellow capsicums for their sweetness and make sure you adjust the seasoning at the end. The splash of vinegar really lifts this peperonata, so although I’ve suggested two teaspoons, don’t be afraid to add more to achieve the right balance.
Makes 4 serves
Takes about 1 hour | 20 minutes hands-on cooking
2 tablespoons extra-virgin
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
800 g capsicums (a mixture of red and yellow), trimmed and sliced into 1 cm strips
400 g canned whole peeled tomatoes
pinch of caster sugar
2 oregano sprigs or a small handful of basil leaves
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, plus extra if needed
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a low–medium heat. Gently fry the onion and garlic for 10–15 minutes until softened and just beginning to colour. Increase the heat to medium and add the sliced capsicum, stirring it through the onion and garlic. Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs and simmer for 30–35 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, until the capsicum has softened and the sauce has reduced. Season with salt and stir through the vinegar. Taste and add more sugar, salt or vinegar if necessary. You can serve immediately, otherwise the peperonata will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Armelle Habib.