Red Pepper Paste

August 22, 2011

I am seeing red! Red hot chili peppers from my garden are coming in fast, and look like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Cute… but oh so dangerous.

I picked a large bowlful and donned rubber gloves to stem and seed them for my annual making of “il diavolo” aka the devil. These miniature peppers look harmless but they are as fiery as their color suggests. I know a lot of people like to dry them. I do that too, but a great way use them is as a paste.

Hot red pepper paste is one of my go to ingredients all winter long; I use it in everything from chili to stews, stir-fry, soups, sauteed vegetables and sauces. You get that zing flavor booster that is so essential in many recipes. And an 8 ounce jar will last you all year long because you only need a thimbleful (unless you are Iron Man) to add some heat in a big way to any recipe that you concoct.

Here’s how to make it. Before you start, get a pair of rubber gloves on your hands and do not touch your eyes or face while making this. Otherwise your face and hand will be feeling the heat long past the winter season.

Il Diavolo (Red Pepper Paste)

Makes one 8 ounce jar

16-20 fresh hot red chili peppers, stems cut off
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons white cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

With rubber gloved hands slit the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor with the salt and vinegar. Process until coarse then with the motor running add enough olive oil through the feed tube to create a paste consistency.

Red hot pepper paste in a glass jar

Transfer the paste to a jar; cap and refrigerate. Use sparingly!

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