Calabrian chilli

Chilli is a plant (and fruit) belonging to the Capsicum genus (the same as sweet peppers) of the Solanaceae family. One of the main characteristics of the Calabrian Peperoncino is its high spiciness.

Chilli pepper is considered a fundamental food of the whole of Calabria, used in pork butchery, fish preserves, cheeses, in almost all traditional recipes.

In Europe the chilli arrived with Christopher Columbus who brought it from the Americas. But before that date it had already spread to Asia and Africa “in ways other than whites”.

It is used as a medicine, as aromatic spices and to make sauces.

One of the most typical dishes of Calabria is the hot pepper sauce, which can be added to any pasta. This sauce can be kept in the pantry to use it every now and then (better in winter), it is a perfect sauce for any type of pasta.


Find out how to do it.

(Latex gloves must be used to handle chillies, so we avoid skin or eye irritation.)


  • fresh red chillies, 500gr
  • extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • coarse salt

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 7 hours of rest.



Clean the peppers with a clean, damp kitchen cloth. Dry them and cut them in half lengthwise.

Now take a colander and place a clean kitchen cloth inside. Cover with a layer of coarse salt and, subsequently with one of chillies, then more salt. Continue to form the different layers until the peppers are finished, then cover everything with a final layer of coarse salt.

Finish by placing a rather heavy pot over the last layer of salt: in this way the weight will help to get the water out of the small red vegetables. Place the colander inside a basin, so that the water does not dirty the kitchen. Maintain the position for at least seven hours.

After the indicated time, remove the salt from the peppers and place them in the kitchen mixer together with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, until you have obtained a smooth and homogeneous mixture.

Finally, pour everything into some previously sterilized jars. Then close the jars and put them to boil in a pot full of water, until you hear the clack of the cap. At this point, store your chili sauce in a cool, dry place for at least three weeks before enjoying.

Enjoy your meal!