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    This traditional Italian stew of onions and sweet peppers is a wonderfully colourful and supremely versatile dish that works as a sauce or relish but also makes a great addition to a selection of antipasti. It's simple to make at home, as this 50-year-old recipe from Piera Ercole, founder of Italian sauce producers Sacla, proves.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes 60 minutes 5 minutes

    Serves: 4 as an accompaniment


    • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 250g red onions, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 4 red peppers
    • 2 yellow peppers
    • 500g ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • Pinch of sugar


    1. Heat the oil in a very large frying pan over a medium heat (you might need to use two pans, although the mixture will reduce considerably while it cooks). Add the onions, garlic and bay leaves and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2. Meanwhile, halve the peppers and remove the cores, seeds and white membranes.
    3. Slice the peppers into strips. Add to the pan, then cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season well with salt, pepper and sugar. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Remove the bay leaves and check the seasoning. The peperonata can be served hot or cold and is also delicious gently warmed and served alongside grilled sausages, or on top of a steak.

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    Piera Ercole's recipe is also the basis for Sacla's readymade version (£1.99/200g), which is perfect if you don't have time to cook. Simply pile it on slices of crusty bread, add to a platter of cured meats, Mozzarella and olives, or blend it into a tomato soup for an authentic and easy snack.


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