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3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium field bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, about 4 cups total
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
OR substitute 2–3 tablespoons of Lepp’s fresh-made pesto
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
1 (8-ounce) ball burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese
Garlic Scape salt or flaky salt, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Halve 4 peppers lengthwise. Pull out the stem, ribs and seeds. Arrange the peppers cut side down in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the peppers and using your hands or a pastry brush, spread the oil over the peppers.
Turn them over so they are cut-side facing up.
Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and scatter into the peppers. Drizzle the peppers with more 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Roast until tender and slightly charred at the edges, but still holding their shape, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes and toast the pine nuts if desired.
Halve 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes and place in a medium bowl. Pick 1 cup packed basil leaves, then set aside 4 of the largest leaves for garnish. Place the remaining basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, a generous pinch of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until mostly smooth, about 10 seconds. Pour over the tomatoes and toss to coat.
Alternately and even easier, is to spoon 2-3 tablespoons of Lepp’s prepared pesto over the tomatoes instead of making your own dressing.
About 10 minutes before the peppers are done, spread 2 tablespoons pine nuts in a small frying pan set over medium heat. Watch carefully, as they burn quickly, and stir until lightly toasted. This will only take a few minutes.
When the peppers are ready, let cool for a few minutes. Transfer cut-side up to a serving platter. Divide the tomatoes and any vinaigrette or juices that remain in the bowl among the peppers, letting some spill over onto the platter. Tear 1 (8-ounce) fresh burrata or mozzarella cheese ball into bite-sized pieces and scatter over the peppers. Tear the reserved basil leaves and scatter them over the cheese. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, a generous dash of Garlic Scape salt, or flaky sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.