Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

RED LIQUID GOLD aka Crushed Red Pepper in Oil

Peperoni rossi tritati sott'olio
All photos - Copyright - ©2010 - La Casa e Il Giardino - picasaweb
The use of crushed red (hot or sweet) pepper is very popular in Italian cuisine, and especially in the south.  It enhances the flavor of  food. The hot one is pungent and with a strong bite.  It's not for everyone, but in my kitchen it's known as "red liquid gold".  In Abruzzo, crushed red pepper is an indispensable ingredient of every dish:  from tomato sauce to pasta dishes, from greens to cured meats.
Strung peppers hung to dry
If you follow my blog, you know that peppers of any kind are staples in my kitchen.  We grow hot and sweet peppers in our vegetable garden.  Mid-August, when peppers get red, they are picked and hung to dry.  In October, when we turn the heat on, the peppers are hung next to the boiler to dry.  Once they are dry, it is easy to take off the stems and shake out the seeds. Then I just grind them in a sausage grinder, and the result is a pungent, spicy paprika.

Red crushed pepper

To preserve the color and flavor, I refrigerate the crushed red pepper in a tightly covered container.  Some of it, I place in a jar and add olive oil.  A teaspoonful of crushed pepper in oil adds color and flavor to many dishes.

Crushed red pepper in oil

Peas and Pasta

2 lb. Fresh peas or 24 oz. package of frozen peas
1/2 lb. small shell pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (preferred in oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot, add oil, saute' the onion, add the peas, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.  Simmer peas gently and occasionally turning so that all peas cook evenly for 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water to create sauce.  Continue simmering for an additional 20 minutes.
In a pot bring water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook al dente and drain.  Reserve some cooking water if needed.  Combine the pasta with the peas and serve.

Peas and Pasta - Pasta e Piselli

For your music enjoyment: