As the autumn sunlight slants at a slightly sharper angle and the air takes on a clear, crisp scent, I surrender to the urge to make delicious comfort foods that warm the soul. Cooking comfort food always brings precious memories back to me.

One of my happiest autumn memories is of my Italian Grandma’s amazing sweet red peppers. I think Grandma must have brought the seeds from Italy in her pocket, because her red peppers had such an intense sweet, rich flavor. After Grandma finished picking the peppers in her farm’s kitchen garden, she would sit at her rustic kitchen table where she would string the peppers into beautiful red garlands. When every pepper was neatly strung, she’d hang the garlands behind her old wood stove so they’d dry and be ready to use in her delicious meals all winter long. Grandma’s garlands were both a thing of beauty and a symbol of all the delicious comfort foods to come during the chilly months ahead.

Harvesting red peppers and making garlands is still an autumn tradition on family farms across Italy. Lovely red garlands of peppers and cherry tomatoes can been seen hanging in every Italian kitchen. (Fortunately, Italian city dwellers can buy pepper garlands at their local farmers’ markets.) Every time I see a bright red garland, I think of my wonderful Grandma and recall the amazing flavor of her pasta sauce flavored with her sweet red peppers.L’ora legale live streaming film

Perfect comfort food.