Peppers are plentiful this time of year and can be found at a reasonable cost. So this is the perfect time of year to think about preserving some of the peppers you buy for the winter months when they cost a fortune.
Some of the pepper varieties that are common are: California Wonder, Big Bertha Green, Red, Yellow and Orange Bell, Marconi, Italian Roaster, Mariachi, Pimento, Super Cayenne, Chinese Lantern, Jalapeno, Hot Banana, Cajun Belle, Cubanelle, Poinsettia and Sangria.
Peppers are extremely easy to freeze. Wash them, pat them dry, chop or slice them, place them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer! Diced into small chunks, peppers are ready for casseroles, egg dishes, stir fry, fajitas, etc. Whole peppers are perfect for stuffing and baking. Defrosted frozen peppers will be a little mushy but they are perfect for cooking.
Of course, you know you can add peppers to omelets, soups, pizza or pasta. One of my favorite recipes is to make roasted red peppers. They are delicious in salad, on pizza and in sandwiches. They are also perfect for an antipasto platter.
Roasted Red Peppers
Wash and dry red peppers – leaving them whole with the stem intact. Char the peppers using an outdoor grill set for medium heat. Place the peppers directly on the grate until one side is charred. Work carefully so that as soon as one section of a pepper is blackened, turn the peppers to a side without charring. (Charring can also be done on a grill pan or in the broiler.)
Once all the sides of the peppers are blackened, place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel. (Or place in a plastic bag and seal or place in a brown paper bag and close it.) The steam will help to loosen the skin, making them easy to peel once they cool.
When the peppers are cool to the touch, remove and discard the skins. Remove the stem, seeds and ribs. Cut in quarters. Place in a covered container and drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar. They will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
You can make a delicious sauce from the roasted red peppers that you can use over grilled meat or over pasta.
- 2 large roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Basil leaves
To make the pepper sauce: Place all of the ingredients in a processor and pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves.
Italian Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz. boneless chicken, cut into small cubes
- 2 Italian frying peppers, finely diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 hot pepper, diced or 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
- 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1 cup dried short pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
Brown chicken in a Dutch oven or a stock pot with the olive oil. Add the peppers, onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the pan and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add seasonings and broth. Cover the pot and simmer 10 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Add pasta and boil until tender, about 5-6 minutes.
Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese.
Italian Pepper & Egg Sandwich
My favorite sandwich growing up.
- 4 green or red bell peppers (or Cubanelle or Italian sweet frying peppers) seeded and sliced.
- 1 small onion, sliced thin
- 5 large eggs, whisked in bowl with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
- 1 loaf of Italian bread, sliced or 4 ciabatta rolls
- Crushed red pepper
In large skillet add olive oil and garlic and saute on low until garlic is golden, (do not burn). Add peppers and onion, season with salt and pepper, stir to coat the vegetables with oil.
Continue cooking on low heat, stirring frequently, until the peppers are soft. Raise heat to med-high and add eggs, stirring well to mix the eggs into the peppers.
Cook eggs thoroughly, but be careful not to burn them. Sprinkle with cheese and red pepper. Serve on an Italian roll or on Italian bread.
Rigatoni with Peppers & Pancetta
Sometimes I add sliced and browned Italian sausage instead of the pancetta.
- 10 ounces dried rigatoni
- 4 slices pancetta, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
- 2/3 cup sliced onion
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup small pitted ripe olives
- 1/4 pound Provolone Cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook rigatoni just to the al dente stage. Drain.
Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan; set aside.
Add the olive oil, bell peppers, onion and garlic to the reserved pan drippings in the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender.
Add cooked rigatoni, pancetta and all the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Baked Chicken, Sausage, Potatoes and Peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- One 3 lb. organic chicken, cut into 10 pieces or 1 whole bone-in chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces and 6 bone-in thighs,skin removed
- 1 pound Italian sausage (pork, chicken or turkey), cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 medium baking potatoes, cut in fourths
- 2 green and 2 red bell peppers, cut into one inch strips
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into eighths
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and spread over the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down.
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken pieces and scatter the sausage around the chicken.
Bake 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and sausage pieces and bake 15 minutes more.
Squeeze the lemons over the chicken and place the lemon skins in the roasting dish. Sprinkle chicken with minced garlic and the oregano.
Add the potatoes, onions and peppers to the pan and sprinkle with salt.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Cover the pan with foil and bake 1 hour, turning the ingredients after 30 minutes. Serve with warm crusty bread, if desired.