Calabrian chili peppers are our March Ingredient of the Month and are considered the classic Italian hot pepper. The region of Calabria, Italy is in the southern part of the country in the “toe” portion of the boot. In Calabria, these small, round, spicy peppers are stuffed with a mix of local tuna and bread crumbs marinated in jars of olive oil to preserve them.
Only after being left to mature to a bright red, slightly wrinkled exterior, do Calabrian chili peppers develop their best spice and smoky fruit notes. They are considered a medium spicy chili pepper. At Racca’s, we bring in Tutto Calabria Hot Long Chili Peppers which are Calabrian chilis that have been left on the vine to mature, then packed with olive oil and a tiny bit of vinegar.
These smoky, hot peppers are available on our “Toppings Menu” and as our spicy oil to drizzle over any pizza. This month, these Calabrian chilis star in our house-made Prosciutto di Parma spread; a savory, spicy, meaty spread used in the Pizza di Parma (on our March feature menu.)
This pepper is a variety of Capsicum annuum and originated in Central and South America and the Caribbean, or what Christopher Columbus referred to as the “West Indies.” It was Columbus who brought these peppers back from his travels, thinking they were related to black pepper. We think we should all do some taste traveling and try Calabrian chilis soon!