(one of an infinite number of possible variations)
Summer lingers at our farmers' market in the shape of tomatoes and peppers, while fall makes itself known in the shape of winter squashes. In a recent post, I described my use of Round of Hungary peppers. In an older post, I described that of bell peppers.
Yesterday morning, I purchased four peppers called Italian long from a farmer that grows a wide range of pepper varieties. I tried his Italian peppers for the first time last year, as a result of a recommendation from my friend Christine of Christine Cooks, and I became instantly a fan. On this page, you will find some details about these peppers.
I must admit that I am not adventurous in the pepper area, so I tend to stay within the sweet camp. One thing that has always amazed me about peppers is that you can't tell whether they are sweet or hot, and if so, how hot, by their shape or color.
Preparing sweet peppers for me means oven-roasting them, and yesterday, after roasting the beauties you see in the photo (there was also another one), I decided to use them in a recipe I created some time ago, which uses bell peppers. First, I will give the original recipe, then will add some comments on my most recent realization of it. This can be called the recipe of 2's.
- 2 bell peppers, quartered, cored and seeded
- 2 tablespoons small capers (capperi), rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons pecans, lightly roasted in a dry skillet and finely chopped (about 8 halves)
- 2 tablespoons raisins (uvetta), soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (prezzemolo)
- 2 tablespoons crumbled crumb (i.e., the soft part of bread)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking pan with foil and place the bell pepper quarters in it, skin side up. Roast them for 30 minutes or so. Place the roasted peppers inside a paper bag and put the bag on a plate. When cool, remove the skin from the pepper strips and spread them on a plate, skin side down. In the meantime, put all the ingredients for the filling into a small bowl, add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Place a tablespoon of filling at one end of each bell pepper strip and make a roll. Place all the rolls in an oiled frying pan and warm up on low until heated through. Serve immediately.
The photo above shows a realization of the original recipe. The first departures from it was that I roasted the 4 Italian peppers whole, so the roasting phase took longer than 30 minutes. When ready, I placed the peppers in a plastic container, put the lid on, and let them cool. It was then very easy to remove the seeds (pulling the stem extracts the inner membrane and most of the seeds) and the skin. Given the shape of the peppers, from each one I obtained two strips wide enough for the involtini. (In two cases I also obtained a narrower strip that I set aside for another use, which I will describe in a future post.) Another, small, departure was the use of toasted walnuts instead of pecans.
By then, it was clear to me that, Italian peppers being thinner than bell peppers, the rolling up would require a more delicate hand. Given their length, though — and the specimens I bought were large representative of the variety — each involtino still was thick enough to hold the filling (ripieno), as you can see in the photo above. By the way, the word involtino comes from involto (bundle): literally, it means small bundle.
The final departure from the original recipe was the placing of a thin slice of my homemade Wensleydale cheese on the top of two of the involtini, as shown in the photo. The result is an interesting variation. The head of my Quality Assurance department (a.k.a., my husband) liked the involtini and would not declare a preference between the variation with cheese and the one without it, opting for a non-committal "They are different," which I have learned to interpret as meaning "I'll eat either of them any time."
This is my contribution to edition #253 of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, now organized by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once and hosted this week by me, Simona of briciole.
This post contains the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the involtini di peperoni audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]