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Peperonata with Pasta

Peperonata is a stew made with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. When served over pasta, Peperonata becomes your new favorite dish!
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Chef Ryan Callahan
Author of Cooking for Chemo...and After! and Cooking for Kids with Cancer

A classic southern Italian dish. Peperonata is a stew made with peppers, onions, and tomatoes, but it can be used as a perfectly savory, spicy, and sweet pasta sauce. When served over pasta, Peperonata becomes your new favorite dish!

Tasting Guidelines:

  • Taste is savory, spicy, and sweet.
  • Recipe is light but can be balanced with red wine and sugar.
  • Texture is soft.
  • Good for people with low to moderate treatment side effects.
  • Best categorized as Italian.


  • 4 bell peppers (red, green, or yellow) sliced into thin long strips, think fettuccine noodle
  • 1 lb Farfalle pasta
  • 1 large can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced long and thin
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Flavor Balancers:

  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1–2 c. red wine (any kind will do)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1–2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. sugar


  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano


In a 2 qt. sauce pot, bring oil to medium-low heat. Add garlic, onions, green peppers, and black pepper. You want to sweat them. You want to cook everything until the onions begin to caramelize and the green peppers start breaking down. It is better to go low and slow with cooking temperature for this recipe.

Deglaze pan with red wine after onions are caramelized and peppers are broken down. Reduce wine. After wine has been reduced, add tomatoes and dried oregano and vinegar.

Cook on a medium-low heat, stirring often to avoid burning until diced tomatoes break down. You will know when this happens because the tomatoes will look less like tomatoes and more like marinara. I like to use a whisk to mash the tomatoes with while cooking.

After about 45 minutes of cooking the tomatoes, taste the sauce specifically looking for acidity and saltiness. Add 1/4 c. of sugar and stir well. Allow to simmer 5 minutes. Taste sauce again. Take note of acidity and saltiness. If sauce is still very acidic, add another 1/4 c. of sugar. Repeat this method until sauce is no longer acidic and has a mellow pleasant flavor. After this, season with black pepper to taste.

The very last step you do is add salt if required. Do not add salt as you go. Add very small amounts of salt at the very end using the same simmer, add, and taste method.

Reduce heat on Peperonata to lowest setting. Fill a spaghetti pot with salted water and bring to a boil. After water begins to boil, add pasta and follow the directions on the pasta box. Strain the cooked pasta, and serve with Peperonata and Parmesan cheese.

Chef Tips

Just like good marinara or chili, the longer the Peperonata cooks the more integrated the flavors become.

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