Peperonata (Stock photo, not mine)
Fast(ing) Food department: During the Fast, it’s good not only to keep the letter but to simplify and reduce our diet a bit.
A typical meal for the Desert Fathers might be a bowl of lentils, with salt if they had some. I’m not ready for that, but it’s true that a simple bowl of rice and/or legumes makes a fine Lenten meal once we’ve bowed to our carnal nature and added some flavor.
I’ve been making a habit of keeping some of this peperonata around. it’s really tasty and can be used as a topping on rice, beans or pasta.
- Heat up some oil in a big skillet.
- Add 1 onion, chopped, and 3 bell peppers, chopped. Add salt, maybe 1 teaspoon. You can use green peppers, but the whole thing is much nicer to look at if you use red and yellow peppers. If you want to make it spicier, add black pepper, a big pinch of red pepper flakes, and/or a squirt of Sriracha sauce. Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the onion and peppers are softened.
- Add 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes. Throw in some of your favorite herbs, whatever they are. Simmer, stirring from time to time, until a lot of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick. Toward the end of cooking, stir in 2 or 3 chopped garlic cloves. (Garlic keeps its flavor much better if you don’t cook it for long.)
This is simplified from Martha Rose Shulman’s The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking.