Bell peppers

  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: About 1 hour plus cooling time for the vegetables

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from "Adventures of an Italian Food Lover" by Faith Heller Willinger.

5 red or yellow bell peppers

1 cup diced red onion

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/4 cup finely diced carrot

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped tomato pulp (2 peeled, seeded chopped fresh tomatoes or 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes)

1 teaspoon minced parsley

Boiling water

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

High-quality balsamic vinegar

1. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove any seeds. Cut the peppers into half-inch wide strips and set aside.

2. In a medium (4-quart) saucepan, stir together the onion, garlic, carrot and olive oil until the vegetables are coated with oil. Cook over medium heat until the onion has softened and is fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the peppers, tomato pulp and parsley to the hot onion mixture. Pour three-fourths cup of boiling water over the mixture and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the peppers are floppy and almost limp, about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture cooks dry in the bottom of the pan, add a little more boiling water.

4. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, stir in the salt and pepper and then balsamic vinegar to taste (1 teaspoon of traditional balsamic should be plenty).

Each of 6 servings: 104 calories; 2 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 8 mg. sodium.