Recipe: Peperonata topping for pizza

prebakeAnother pizza recipe!  This is because I keep buying those lovely pizza bases from Take Me Home, and then stockpiling them in the freezer.  It’s about time I used some of them.

The main inspiration for this recipe was the two bags of sweet peppers I bought from Rita’s daughter at the market a couple of weeks ago.  They were just crying out for a peperonata-style dish… and it turns out that peperonata is *amazing* on pizza!  The trick turns out to be using only a small amount of cheese, and putting it under the topping, to help the topping stick.  And also, for once, not piling so many raw vegetables on top of the pizza that it gets all soggy…

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1 smallish onion
1 clove garlic (I know, I know, who are you and what have you done with Catherine?  But sometimes moderation is good.  And sometimes, I just can’t be bothered chopping garlic…)
1 red chilli
1 tbsp brown sugar
Lots and lots and lots of peppers… in my case, two red capsicums, two long yellow sweet chillis, three long red sweet peppers, and four long green sweet peppers.
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
To serve:
2 x 20cm (ish) pizza bases,
100 g mozzarella,
tomato paste

 

Now what will you do with it?

First, put on a nice CD, because you are going to be slicing a lot of things into matchsticks, which is worth it, but a little boring, so you might as well have some entertainment in the background.

You will be chopping all these things, and more...

You will be chopping all these things, and more…

Halve your onion, and slice it the wrong way – you know, from top to root to make half moons, rather than across to make rings.  Finely chop your chilli and your garlic.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, and add the onion, garlic and chilli over fairly high heat.  Stir until beginning to brown, then add the brown sugar and lower the heat a bit and cook until everything is soft and golden.

base

While this is happening, start slicing all your peppers and capsicums into matchstick lengths – the width can be a bit more than a matchstick – and add them to the onion as you go, because you might as well.  Stir things occasionally.

Once all the peppers are in the pain, raise the heat a bit, and let everything cook until soft.  Again, a bit of stirring is good.  When it’s all looking nearly done, add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar and stir through.

pepp1

(You know, normally I’d add some herbs or a pinch of salt or at least pepper, but I totally forgot to do so when I made this recipe, and it was incredibly tasty, so I think you can happily ignore seasonings this time around.)

You now have peperonata, which you can either pizzify, or use for another purpose – it would be a great accompaniment for grilled anything, really, or you could stir it through pasta, too.

peppers

So gloriously colourful…

To make your pizza, I’d follow the actual baking instructions that go with your pizza base, but start by spreading it with tomato paste, and then sprinkle with coarsely grated mozzarella before adding the peperonata (this recipe makes enough for two pizzas, unless you are doing a gigantic pizza like my Pizza Serafina recipe, which is still what proper pizza looks like, incidentally).  Do bear in mind that since this peperonata is already cooked it doesn’t really need more than about 15 minutes maximum in the oven, so if your instructions suggest a longer baking time, add the topping part-way through.

Eat, gloatingly.

pizza

Variations

This recipe is, once again, gluten-free, vegan and low-GI, always assuming you serve it on a base or over something else that is all of these things.  Though if you are doing this as a vegan pizza, I would recommend finding something sticky to put under the peperonata – I’m not sure if vegan cheeses are good for this or not.

You could do a lot with this dish.  For one thing, you could add a lot more chillis to spice it up.  Black olives might also be nice.  I suspect there are those who would add anchovies, but I am not among their number.  It’s also tempting to make this with more chilli, then add olives and raisins and pine-nuts, which would give you a more Sicilian sweet-and-sour aesthetic.  I’m not sure if that would be so great on a pizza, however.  It’s more a side dish or condiment at that point.

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