Calabrian Hot Pepper Paste Recipe

This Calabrian Hot Pepper Paste Recipe captures the essence of Calabrian chilies, transforming them into a versatile condiment that's rich in flavor and heritage. A testament to the beauty of simple, quality ingredients coming together to create something truly special.
read time
1 minutes


Prep Time
20 minutes
Active Time
10 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
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- 1 pound Calabrian chili peppers, stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for topping off
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Step 1 - Clean the Peppers

Begin by thoroughly washing the Calabrian chili peppers. Pat them dry with a clean towel.

Step 2 - Prepare the Ingredients

Roughly chop the peppers and garlic. If you prefer a milder paste, you can remove the seeds from the peppers at this stage.

Step 3 - Blending

In a food processor, combine the chopped peppers, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend until you achieve a smooth paste consistency. For a thinner paste, you can add a bit more olive oil.

Step 4 - Taste and Adjust

Taste the pepper paste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or vinegar if needed. The goal is to strike a perfect balance between heat, acidity, and seasoning.

Step 5 - Storage

Transfer the paste to a sterilized jar. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to seal the paste from air exposure. This helps preserve the paste's vibrant color and freshness.

Step 6 - Refrigeration

Seal the jar tightly and refrigerate. The Calabrian hot pepper paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Step 7 - Serving Suggestions

Use this versatile paste to add a kick to your pasta sauces, spread on sandwiches, or as a fiery condiment with your favorite meats and vegetables.

What Are Calabrian Hot Peppers?

Calabrian hot peppers, known as "Peperoncino Calabrese" in Italian, hail from the Calabria region in the southern part of Italy. This area, blessed with a warm Mediterranean climate, is ideal for growing these fiery red jewels. Calabrian peppers are deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of the region, celebrated for their vibrant color, distinctive heat, and their ability to add depth and complexity to dishes. They are not just a food item; they're a cultural emblem, representing the fiery passion and warmth of the Calabrian people. These peppers are versatile, used in various forms such as fresh, dried, and, most notably, turned into a paste that becomes a staple in Italian cooking, offering a quick way to imbue dishes with the essence of Calabria.

What Do Calabrian Hot Peppers Taste Like?

Calabrian hot peppers boast a unique taste profile that sets them apart from other chili varieties. They strike a balance between heat and flavor, characterized by a moderately spicy yet fruit-forward taste with a hint of smokiness. This complexity makes them not just a source of heat but a flavor enhancer that adds a nuanced depth to dishes. Their heat level is approachable, not overwhelming, allowing the fruity, slightly tangy notes to shine through, making them a beloved ingredient for those who appreciate a spice that doesn't overshadow the dish's other flavors.

Where Can I Buy Calabrian Hot Peppers?

Great question – check out our marketplace where you can buy Calabrian Hot Peppers directly from foragers and cultivators.

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