One of my all time favourite summer dishes is a big platter of Italian Roasted Peppers. This recipe is full of all those wonderful flavours that we associate with la dolce vita.
I’m talking roasted and lightly charred peppers, stuffed with goat’s cheese, capers, fresh garlic and tomatoes and drizzled with lashings of extra-virgin olive oil, this simple and delicious recipe is summer on a plate.
What is this recipe all about?
My Italian Roasted Peppers recipe is based on the legendary cook Elizabeth David’s famous recipe for Piedmontese Peppers, an Italian style of cooking bell peppers from the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy.
As with so many Italian recipes, this is the good stuff. The smoky sweetness of the charred skin of the peppers pairs perfectly with the tangy, creamy, salty stuffing. While these peppers make an excellent side dish, they are also a fantastic vegetarian lunch meal, with the peppers as star of the show.
How do you make Italian Roasted Peppers?
This is such a simple recipe. The peppers are halved and placed on a baking sheet, filled with the quickly made stuffing and then roasted at a high temperature. Drizzled with a little basil pesto and scattered with basil leaves, these Italian peppers are ready in under an hour.
What sort of peppers are best for roasting?
I like all colours of bell peppers, though for the best flavour I would recommend using red, orange or yellow peppers. Green bell peppers can be a little bitter, though are still very tasty.
Buy ingredients the Italian way
Italians take the quality of their ingredients incredibly seriously. As always, the trick with simple recipes is to use the best ingredients you can lay your hands on – and by that, I don’t mean the most expensive!
Try to find tomatoes that have actually seen the sun and olive oil that has a rich, fruity flavour. By using good ingredients you will be rewarded in every bite.
How should I serve Italian Roasted Peppers?
This recipe is flexible. You could serve it as part of an antipasto platter, as a side dish or as the main course. This recipe is best served at room temperature, so you can make it a couple of hours in advance and have it ready to go when you need it.
Make Italian Roasted Peppers for a couple, or a crowd!
This recipe makes enough for two people as a light meal, easily bulked out by serving with rice or plenty of crusty bread – it’s also a lovely (and easy!) starter or first course, just double or triple the recipe as required.
While they are delicious fresh, I have had great success at cooking these a few days in advance, and simply warming them up in a low-temperature oven before eating.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I DON’T EAT ANCHOVIES, CAN I LEAVE THEM OUT OF THIS Italian peppers RECIPE?
Italian Roasted Peppers are a wonderfully flexible recipe so simply swap out ingredients as you see fit, anchovies can be swapped for olives, bacon or other salty ingredients. I promise that they don’t taste fishy though and they add so much flavour!
CAN I MAKE ITALIAN ROASTED PEPPERS IN ADVANCE?
Yes! Absolutely. These are great at room temperature or gently warmed under foil in a low oven. I like to have them in the oven at low heat when guest arrive because they smell amazing and make everybody hungry.
Can I SCALE the recipe to feed more people?
Yes, in fact I have scaled this recipe down. When I am entertaining guests I make one half pepper per person as a starter or as part of a platter. If it is going to be the main dish of the evening then you will need one whole pepper per person.
Why can’t I use green peppers in this recipe?
You absolutely can and I often do, I simply find many people prefer the sweetness of yellow, red or orange bell peppers.
What should I serve with Italian Roasted Peppers?
Because you have so many big flavours happening in this recipe I would stick with something simple. Rice, homemade focaccia, or some good quality bread is perfect. If you want, serve with a Italian Caprese Salad.
When I serve this dish with rice I like to make sure it is extra flavoursome by cooking the rice in stock and a little white wine rather than water. After the rice is cooked, try stirring through a chopped tomato and 2 finely sliced spring onions.
Looking for more easy Italian appetiSers or main meals?
Try out my Eggplant Involtini recipe, it is packed with flavour and is so good. Making lots of Italian nibbles? My Baked Italian Zucchini Flowers look and taste spectacular. Looking for something a little more substantial? How about Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini or Lemon and Caper Chicken Piccata?
- 2 large bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 anchovies from the jar, finely diced (optional)
- ½ red onion, peeled and diced
- ½ fresh chilli pepper, finely diced
- 100g (3.5 oz) goat's cheese or feta, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 Tbsp basil pesto
- small bunch of fresh basil
- sea salt & black pepper
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7 And line a baking tray with baking paper.
- CUT THE PEPPERS: Halve the peppers through the stem then use a small, sharp knife to cut away the seeds and any white membrane, leaving the stem attached. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, rubbing it all over the flesh, then place on the prepared tray.
- MAKE THE STUFFING: In a small mixing bowl combine the tomatoes, garlic, anchovies (if using) onion, chilli, feta or goat's cheese, pine nuts, capers and oregano. Stir to combine, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper then divide the mixture evenly between the capsicum halves.
- ROAST THE PEPPERS: Drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and a little more olive oil, then roast in the top third of the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- ADD PESTO: After 30 minutes loosen the basil pesto with a tablespoon of olive oil, then drizzle it over the capsicum halves before returning them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
- SERVE: Serve warm, scattered with fresh basil leaves, plenty of fresh crusty bread, or rice.
If you don't have fresh basil, substitute with fresh parsley.
I have added garlic to this recipe to suit my tastes. If you really love garlic, then go right ahead and put in as many cloves of garlic as you and your family like!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 whole pepper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 553mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate