• ½ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, smashed
• 3 fresh bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 6 bell peppers (red, yellow and orange), cut into 2-inch pieces
• 1 cup dry white wine
• ½ bunch fresh basil, torn
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 loaf ciabatta bread
• 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 cup water
Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
Add tomato paste, red pepper flakes, 1½ teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, stirring until the tomato paste turns brick red, then add bell peppers, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, add wine and 1 cup water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Uncover, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Stir in basil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Set peperonata aside.
Heat a gas grill or broiler to medium high heat. Cut ciabatta loaf into ½ inch slices and brush with olive oil. Grill or broil until crisp and brown. Let cool slightly.
Place ricotta in a bowl and stir in black pepper and salt to taste.
Spread ricotta on grilled bread and top with peperonata.
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones