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Rosemary and Pepperoncino Oil

(recipe, Liz Biro)

Introduction

In Buccino, Italy, cooks use fresh rosemary leaves to season sausage and on chicken, potatoes, and fish before roasting. They also like hot red-pepper oil made with a chile named pepperoncino. In September, the 3- to 4-inch-long peppers are hung to dry from balconies all over town. Sometimes, fresh rosemary is added to the oil, which the Buccinese especially like to drizzle on orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta) in tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  1. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 dried red pepperoncino or other hot dried chile, such as cayenne or New Mexico red chile, seeded and crushed
  3. 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, each 4 inches long

Steps

  1. Combine the oil and crushed pepperoncini in a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly fry pepper for about 2 minutes. Reduce temperature to medium low. Add rosemary to oil and cook another 3 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and cool oil to room temperature. Remove rosemary sprigs from oil. Use oil immediately or store in a glass cruet in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Note

Be sure to read Liz Biro's reminiscences of rosemary.