BIG TONI’S ITALIAN KITCHEN

Fresh roasted Red Peppers.                        Sept 2017

A few weeks ago we were in Tuscany on holiday and I went to the local market to buy some vegetables and fruit. It never fails to amaze me how wonderful the piles of fresh fruit and veg look in these markets. It makes you want to cook.

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I purchased bags full of irresistible 

ripe juicy Peaches as big as 

Grapefruit, wonderful bitter greens 

and some brilliant red distorted 

peppers, which were still coated, 

with the fine dust of the farm.

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I was going to make fresh roasted 

Peppers.

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Now we have Peppers in out supermarkets back in the UK but they tend to be the perfectly bell shaped things that come in packs of three, one red, one green and one in-between all three of them not tasting of anything. 

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These Italian peppers are a different proposition they are twisted, uneven, and range in size from a lady’s slipper to a workman’s boot. 

The colour is spectacular from bright pillar-box red through to dark claret, and they taste like concentrated summer sun. 

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They could almost be a different species of vegetable to those we get at home.

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We love to use them in all sorts of ways we add them to salads. Place them on bruschetta or add them to pasta, make a roasted red pepper aioli, make a roasted red pepper pesto, add them to a tapenade, on pizza, or just eat them with some fresh bread. The world is your roasted pepper.

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For good big plateful people you will need:

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5 or 6 ripe red peppers 

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Fresh Rosemary and fresh Oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Some chopped Garlic

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How to make:

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Preheat the oven to 200c 

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Lay the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet whole; you need do nothing to them. 

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Roast the red peppers for 20 to 25 minutes or until the skins are very dark and have collapsed. 

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Once the skins are blackened remove the peppers from the oven.

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You can put the roasted peppers in a paper bag to steam for about 10 minutes to help loosen the skin but I don’t, I just let the peppers cool for a few minutes until I can handle them and then peel the skins off.

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You will find there is a good deal of wonderful juice inside the peppers, do not throw this away, peal the peppers in a bowl and when you have peeled them all strain the juice through a sieve to remove the pips and skin. The juice it is full of flavour.

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Put them on a plate sprinkle with the Rosemary and Oregano a drizzle of olive oil, chopped garlic and some of the juice and your ready to enjoy.

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If you want to keep them its easy. Stored in the fridge in an airtight container they'll keep for up to about a week. If you store them covered in oil in the fridge they'll keep for at least 2 weeks. You can freeze them in freezer bags.

"Carnaroli'' is the king of risotto rice by Riso Gallo, an exceptional quality rice with large, full-bodied grains that encompasses six generations of passion and culture for rice.

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From all good supermarkets.

Outstanding Sicilian oil. Yellow-green color, smooth taste, unfiltered. Limited quantities. The oil is produced at the estate of Prince Pignatelli at Castelvetrano in Sicily using the Nocellara varietal. The 100% Nocellara del Belice olives are hand-picked from the trees. An exceptional oil. 

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You can order it here.