This red pepper side dish can be served as part of an antipasto platter or as an accompaniment with meat or meatier fish such as tuna or mackerel. It is best when allowed to rest a day to meld the flavors. Other variations of this dish add raisins and or pine nuts. Northern Italian variations do not include the tomato sauce or basil and use a white wine vinegar instead of the balsamic. Either way it is a unique and tasty way to prepare peppers.
Peperoni in agrodolce (Peperoni here is the Italian word for sweet peppers and is not pepperoni sausage)
Sweet and sour red peppers
Based on the recipe in La Cucina Siciliana by Alba Allotta
2 lb red peppers – sliced into strips
1 onion – chopped
olive oil – for sautéing vegetables
1 cup tomato sauce
2 T basil chopped
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 T sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes over medium heat until soft and just starting to color in a pan large enough to hold the peppers. Add the pepper and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. If the vegetables become too dry add a tablespoon or two of water.
In the meantime, in a small sauce pan bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, add the basil and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the sauce to the peppers and onion and simmer over medium-low heat for another 10-15 minutes to finish cooking the pepper and meld the flavors. In a small bowl stir the sugar into the vinegar until it is completely dissolved. When the peppers reach the desired tenderness, add the vinegar sugar mixture and stir to combine. Correct the seasoning and allow the vegetables cool a bit before serving. Can also be served at room temperature or cold.