Ciao'd while watching the Red Carpet hoopla.
Many years ago, back in the culinary land inhabited by my Italian aunts and grandmothers, "bake" applied to anything cooked in the oven. None of this "roast" and "broil" stuff. Now, "roast" applies to what happens to meat and vegetables in the oven and "bake" is about the more liquid stuff, like cake batter, that solidifies into yummy goodness. Marcella Hazan was clearly part of my aunts' and grandmothers' squad.
Marcella calls this mix of potatoes, peppers, onions and tomatoes a "cheerful, comforting dish." She also advises that we use a green, fruity olive oil. She doesn't say why but I am guessing that this type of oil graces the vegetables rather than overwhelms them. It surely did when I made it. In fact, the beauty of this dish lies in the intermingling of the vegetables' flavors with their individual textures.
4 medium boiling (waxy) potatoes, white or red
3 sweet and meaty bell peppers, red, yellow, or green
3 round tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes, fresh, firm, and ripe
4 medium yellow onions
1/4 cup fruity olive oil, such as Lucero
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the potatoes into wedges about 1-inch thick. Cut the peppers into lengthwise sections, following their folds. Scrape away and discard all the seeds and the pulpy core to which they are attached. Cut the tomatoes into 6 to 8 wedge-shaped sections. If you are using plum tomatoes, cut them in half, lengthwise. Peel the onions and cut into 4 sections each.
Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Put the vegetables into a baking dish in which they will fit comfortably. If they are packed too closely together, they will become soggy.
Bake, turning every 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. If after 20 minutes you see that the tomatoes have thrown off an excessive amount of liquid, turn the oven to 450 degrees for the remaining cooking time. Do not worry if some of the vegetables become slightly charred at the edges. It is quite all right, and even desirable.
When done, transfer the vegetables to a warm platter, using a slotted spoon. If there are any bits stuck to the sides or bottom of the baking dish, scrape them loose and add them to the platter. These are choice morsels. Serve at once. Adapted from More Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan, Knopf, 1978.