Easy Umbrian Summer Dishes – Mary’s non-recipes
gorgeous bell peppers in the oven for Phase One
Our favorite summer Umbrian dishes are easy and basic – very few ingredients and simple to make. These are a few of our “regulars”: oven roasted red and yellow bell peppers – at their best in July and August.
Cut the bell peppers length-wise, remove the pith and seeds, place on a baking dish and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a pre-heated HOT oven. Cook until tender and well-browned on the edges. In the meantime, prepare in the food processor a mixture of 3-4 ripe tomatoes with their skins, 4-5 cloves of garlic, fresh herbs (oregano, savory, thyme, basil and parsley, a good drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and a couple spoonfuls of grated 30-month parmesan. Mix coarsely. Add enough coarse breadcrumbs to the mixture to bring it to the proper consistency – soft, not overly dry, moist but not soggy. Adjust with drops of water or some juice from fresh tomatoes if necessary. Add, but don’t pulse, halved or quartered, ripe cherry tomatoes to the mixture.
With the oven still on, when the peppers are tender and well-browned (about an hour) remove the baking pan, add the prepared mixture to the bell peppers without pressing it down. Replace immediately in the hot oven for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully that the mixture browns ever so lightly, doesn’t over dry. Remove and let cool naturally. Serve at room temperature.
bell peppers and cherry tomatoes just out of the oven to cool before being placed on a summery, colorful serving platter
When you have lots of wonderful ripe cherry tomatoes, do the same with them, halved, on a separate plate since they will need less time in both phases.
delicious, tender, flavorful friggitelli just out of the oven – ready to be transferred to a colorful serving platter
Friggitelli peppers (cut off the cap and remove the few seeds) can be stuffed with the same mixture and placed in the bottom of the HOT oven. They do not need to be cooked in two phases. Their thin skins, even with the stuffing, allow them to cook and brown quickly. Watch them closely – they should be well-browned and done in about 30 minutes.
the lovely medley of garden fresh zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs – ready for a festively colored serving platter
Another summer favorite: pan sautèed zucchini with a medley of garden herbs
Brown an onion and several large garlic cloves in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the irregularly chopped zucchini after removing any spongey “soul” centers, 8-10 halved cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs as above (all stems removed), salt and pepper. Sautè quickly on a medium-to high flame, stirring as necessary to ensure good browning- only until just tender. Add a sprinkle of grated parmesan. Let cool – serve at room temperature.