Peperoncino Calabrese: history and uses in the kitchen
With its unmistakable scent and aroma, Peperoncino Calabrese (Calabrian Chilli) is a spice used in many traditional recipes thanks to its medium-low spiciness.
Its spicy taste has become part of many regional cuisines and is essential for the success of a large number of dishes. Its use is widespread almost everywhere in our country, but it is exploited especially in the central and southern regions, such as Lazio, Basilicata, the countryside and Puglia.
However, the first place goes to Calabria which, over time, has developed an indissoluble bond with Peperoncino.
Origin of the Peperoncino Calabrese
Peperoncino comes from the New World, where it was grown for thousands of years. It was Christopher Columbus who discovered this plant on his first trip to America and brought it to Spain. From here it spread rapidly throughout Europe and reached Italy thanks to the cultural influence that the Arabs had in our southern regions.
It first spread in Sicily, and then became very common in Calabria, where its antibacterial properties and ease of cultivation were immediately appreciated, favored by the type of soil and the Mediterranean climate. Furthermore, its fruits were very easy to preserve, both dried and in oil, and therefore represented a valid and economical alternative to the very expensive oriental spices.
How to use the Peperoncino Calabrese in the kitchen
Peperoncino in Calabria is used as a condiment (fresh, in oil or dried) or as an ingredient for many recipes: pasta dishes, sauces, sausages and, recently, it is also used in the preparation of desserts, liqueurs and beers. Some of these specialties have become a symbol of the bond of this land with the spicy taste.
First of all the ’Nduja, a spreadable salami made from minced pork to which various spices and a good amount of Peperoncino are added. It is usually enjoyed on slices of hot bread or even as a base for sauces, sauces or in combination with cheeses.
Soppressata is just as important as it is one of the traditional “noble” cured meats and one of the most popular. It is processed with high quality ingredients, that is the best meat deriving from pork legs and then mixed with aromas and spices. Peperoncino is essential to grant the salami its typical flavor and color.
If, on the other hand, we want to preserve their freshness and aroma throughout the year, it is possible to preserve the chilli peppers in oil.