Elena Boroli, who co-owns the Locanda del Pilone farmhouse inn and restaurant in Piedmont, says bell peppers are the best symbol of Piedmontese cucina povera (peasant food). This simple recipe for involtini (little Italian rolls) is all about the deeply flavored, slow-roasted red bell peppers, which get wrapped around fresh ricotta cheese and plum tomatoes.
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4 large red bell peppers
1/2 pound fresh ricotta (1 cup)
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 plum tomato—peeled, seeded and finely diced
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots. Transfer the peppers to a paper bag, close and let cool.
Peel, core and seed the roasted bell peppers, keeping them intact. Cut each pepper in half lengthwise and pat dry with paper towels.
Working over a bowl, press the ricotta through a sieve. Add the snipped chives, season with salt and pepper and stir the tomato into the filling.
Arrange the roasted peppers on a work surface, skinned sides down. Divide the filling evenly between the halves and roll up into thick cylinders. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Cut the cylinders into 3/4-inch-thick slices, transfer to a platter with the cut sides up and serve.
The involtini can be refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before serving.
The Marchese di Grésy poured his flagship Martinenga Barbaresco on the cruise. This Piedmontese red, made entirely from Nebbiolo grapes, has enough acidity to balance the rich ricotta cheese in these involtini. Di Grésy's Dolcetto d'Alba, a lighter red, would also be a good match.
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