These vibrantly coloured Piedmontese Roasted Peppers are utterly delicious and easily prepared. They are simple yet stunning, their flavours enhanced by roasting in the oven. Serve them on a large platter, with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices; you will be pleased that you did.
4small red or yellow peppers/capsicums - or a combinationSee Note 1
120g(4.25 ounces) cherry tomatoes - halved or quartered
4clovesgarlic - peeled and thinly sliced
12basil leavesSee Note 2
16Kalamata olives - pitted and halvedSee Note 3
4(about 130 g/4.5 ounces) medium bocconcini - slicedSee Note 4
4anchovies - halved lengthwaysSee Note 5
1/2cup(120 ml) extra virgin olive oilSee Note 6
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt - to taste
chilli/red pepper flakes - optional
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (355F).
Halve the peppers lengthways, remove the core, seeds and white pith. Lay the peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish that will comfortably hold them.
Divide the pieces of cherry tomatoes amongst the peppers. Tuck 3 or 4 slices of garlic between the tomatoes. Tuck basil leaves and olives between the tomatoes.
Cut, or tear the bocconcini into pieces with your hands, and scatter on top. Use some crumbled feta if you prefer.Add an anchovy, halved lengthways or chopped if you prefer. Grind some black pepper over the top.If you are using anchovies omit or be cautious adding the salt.
Drizzle over the olive oil. Don’t skimp, it is essential for the wonderful juices. Add some chilli/red pepper flakes if you wish.
Bake in the oven approximately 35 minutes until they are slightly blackened around the edges but still holding their shape.
Transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, with all the delicious juices poured over, and garnish with a few basil leaves.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
I prefer to use red and yellow peppers for this recipe. Orange works well too if they’re available, and I prefer them to be on the small side. If large they can be cut into quarters but you will need to increase the quantities of the fillings. I generally don’t buy green peppers. Green peppers are harvested before they are completely ripe and I find there is a mildly bitter edge to their flavour.
I sometimes whiz a handful of basil leaves with some olive oil in a small food processor and drizzle this over in lieu of adding the basil leaves and olive oil separately. Or use some basil pesto if you have some on hand.
I prefer to buy the whole olive and remove the stone myself as I think they taste better. However, use a pitted olive if you prefer.
These are balls of fresh mozzarella, available from the supermarket. I have used medium sized bocconcini balls. You could use a large bocconcino ball or use some crumbled feta if you prefer. You could take the dish to new heights by using Buffalo Mozzarella – it’s delicious.
Use the best quality anchovies that you can find. There are huge variations in quality so it is better to omit them than to use those which are inferior. Simply omit the anchovies to make a vegetarian dish. Use a few sea salt flakes instead.
It is essential that good quality olive oil is used as you will be mopping up the delicious juices with crusty bread. My preference is extra virgin olive oil for its flavour and health-benefiting qualities.
Please note, the nutritional information is based on one whole pepper per person. The nutritional information is an estimate only.