Tiny Peppers in Cherry Tomato Sauce

When they were growing up, Marcella and eight of her cousins—all girls—would sail to the Lipari Islands near Sicily for two weeks every summer. To bring on the journey, the aunts put up jars of intensely flavored peppers and green beans in spicy tomato sauce. They're more like condiments than vegetable side dishes.


Slideshow: More Terrific Condiments


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10

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  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds miniature bell peppers (see Note), stems removed, or 3 pounds regular bell peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the bell peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Transfer the peppers and any olive oil to a bowl. 

  2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes, cover and cook, stirring and crushing the tomatoes occasionally, until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Return the bell peppers to the skillet. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The peppers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Miniature bell peppers (no bigger than 2 inches) are available at supermarkets and specialty food shops.

Contributed By Published April 2004

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