Beautiful hot peppers straight from my garden…I could dry them, freeze them or cook them down for two days with tomatoes to make the best Italian dish ever…and I believe that is exactly what I will do today. I’m sure this dish has a proper name, but we just call it hot peppers and tomatoes. A very easy and tasty dish to make, and all you need is lots of time, lots of peppers and lots of tomatoes. Tomatoes and peppers from the garden or from the store or from a can…it all works, and if you like things hot…you will love this.
My mother in law, we called her Nonnie, showed me how to make this years ago when we lived in Virginia. She was a remarkably sweet Italian lady who really did redeem the bad connotation of “Mother in law”. I loved her, loved having her live with us for eight years and loved that she was able to share with me how to make many dishes that were favorites of my husband when he was young. This dish, not so much, because early in our marriage, he did not have the same love for his mouth being set ablaze that I did. But it sure ended up being one of our favorites, now we both love things hot. When I tell you how this is made, because it’s so easy, you may not think it could possibly be all that much to rave about…but believe me…it is.
This dish is perfect…because Italian cooking is lovely and best in its simplicity. The deep robust flavor comes from hours of cooking…you just can’t do this quick and have the same extraordinary results.
There are only a few ingredients in this yummy comfort food. I’m not calling butter a main ingredient 🙂
Whole about 8 fresh or 2 cans of pealed tomatoes. I really like San Marzano peeled from Italy. Often I use a combination of fresh and canned tomatoes…it just depends on what I have on hand.
Hot peppers…lots. I use Jalapeño, Serrano, Habanero, Cayenne, Thai, Anaheim and Poblano and hatch that are dry. Whatever you have on hand or can find in your garden or store will work perfectly.
Garlic cloves, 6 crushed
Hot peppers, just cut off the stem, lots
Onions, 2 chopped
Butter, 3 Tablespoons
Loaf of crusty Italian bread
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin olive oil to drizzle over the peppers when they are put on the bread.
There are no exact measurements for this one. Three or four large cans of tomatoes and as many hot peppers as you can possibly tolerate.
Wash the peppers and cut off the stems. I use about four to six cups of peppers to three large cans of tomatoes. You can either put the peppers raw in the tomatoes or roast them first. Either way works great. I roasted this batch using a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place the clean peppers along with the garlic and onions on the tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and add them to the tomato sauce. Roasting them first gives them a really good taste…but that isn’t something you have to do. It will still come out amazing if you put them directly into the tomatoes. I cook mine on low for two days…adding water if it gets too thick. The first day I simmered them for six hours and the second day seven hours. The flavors come together in the most fantastic way…and the way your house will smell….just incredible…it’s better than wonderful.
Salt and pepper to taste.
It’s an explosion of heat and flavor!!
When it’s ready, take a crusty piece of warm Italian bread and butter it. The butter helps coat your mouth, so it won’t
feel like it is completely on fire.
Dip the bread right into this amazing, wonderful tomato and pepper awesomeness…and take a bite of heaven.
Even if your head explodes from the heat, which it might…depending on the amount of peppers you use…it is worth it…because it is soooo darn good.
We eat this right out of the bowl with bread, and it’s also amazing as a spread on pizza crust…just like my husbands Grandma Mingo used to make.
I’ve poured it over a block of cream cheese for a spicy dip and like to freeze small amounts in ice-cube trays to add small cubes to different soups and sauces.
How can something so simple be so delightful? If you like things hot, you will LOVE this.
The mixture cooks down to a nice dark thick sauce that tastes perfect on bread. But it’s also great on eggs, hamburgers, pork chops…anything that you like hot.
Take the crispy bread after it has been toasted, put some cold butter on top…yes…it has to be cold…and then a heaping tablespoon of the peppers and tomatoes and take a bite…then write me. Tell me if you crazy love it, or your mouth melted completely off. It’s so spicy hot, that my mouth is completely on fire, but I can’t stop eating it. Each bite takes me back to wonderful moments spent with Nonnie in my kitchen…comfort food is perfect for doing that.
September 7, 2015 Update ~ Making a new batch:
Today I’m making a new batch of hot peppers and tomatoes. In a bit of a hurry but there were so many peppers in the garden that needed to be picked, and I didn’t want them to go bad, so I knew I could get this on the stove really fast. We have Jalapeño, Thai, Serrano, Habanero and Bell peppers. I simply cut the ends off the peppers and then in half, put them in my never burn pot with four cans of whole tomatoes. Salt, pepper, onion and garlic and I will let it cook on low heat for two full days.
This pot is expensive, but I never have to worry again about sauce that I cook for long periods of time burning. $130.00 in the Chef’s Catalog if you are interested.
Then in the middle of the night I was thinking that maybe the sauce might work just as well done in a crock pot…much less expensive and just as easy. Haven’t made
it that way yet…but I will let you know if it turns out well.
You can tell by the amount of peppers that I like food really hot, and the nice thing about this dish is that you can use as much or as littleon the bread that you want…and the cold butter really helps to cool down the burn. This time I didn’t roast the peppers first, I just put them
in the sauce raw and I also used four small bell peppers for extra flavor because there were so many in the garden.
I can not wait for this to cook down so we can finally eat it. What we don’t eat I will freeze in large storage baggies and in small containers
to add in different foods…not enough to kill you…but just for an extra little kick.
I got a little hungry looking at all those peppers, so decided to break out the crackers and squirt cheeseand a slice of hot pepper…soooo good!This is great to cook up and then freeze in individual smaller baggies. Then in the middle of the winter when there is nothing in the garden, I can pull a biggie out, heat it up on the stove and it’s wonderful. Especially if I buy a baguette, break off a chunk and cover it with cold butter then dip it into this hot mixture…you need nothing else to put a huge smile on your face!
My son Brent and his girlfriend Gabby were here visiting for the weekend and I sent him home a large baggie full of the hot tomato
mixture. He is an excellent cook with the ability to know exactly what is missing in a dish and how create a totally new one with
amazingly great results. I had to share a picture (below) of what he created with the sauce.
He made Octopus, egg noodles and the tomato mixture, which looks delicious to me. Using the tomato mixture in a crock pot, he
added one pound of cleaned baby octopus. The egg noodles were cooked separately in chicken broth (cooked al dente) and then added
to the mixture.wanted the picture big enough for you to see exactly what was in the dish….ooooh I wish I had been there to taste it!
So there are so many possibilities that you can do with this mixture. That is why I like to freeze small amounts of it so I can add it to so many things…like chili, soup or over sea food, pizza, spaghetti and now with octopus and egg noodles, or when I’m just in the mood for something hot and want to eat it right out of the bowl.
I really hope you like this one!
Post Note…my son liked the sauce so much he wanted to make his own today, using all the peppers from his garden and a crock pot.
He said it turned out perfect…not watery at all…so that answered my question about using a crock pot. You definitely can be assured that the mixture will turn out amazingly good.
He also added some cooked ground meat and cooked bacon that he had left over that night. It will make one awesome sauce over spaghetti, or on a chili dog, or on a hamburger…
seriously my mouth is watering right now! 🙂