When I was a little girl, more often than not we would go to my Grandma Rosie's house for sauce. Call it Sunday Sauce (though it wasn't limited to Sundays, thank goodness!). Call it Gravy if you must, though here in Rochester it's just sauce with macaroni. But today is not the day for us to discuss the perfection that is Rosie's sauce (I promise that day will come and it will be well worth the wait!). Today, let's delve into the vehicles by which we add spiciness to our sauce (or anything for that matter).
Those amazing family dinners always had the usual suspects on the table; Romano cheese and crushed red pepper. No need for salt and pepper at the Italian table when you have those two lovelies! My Grandpa Gene would even take the crushed red pepper and pretend to sprinkle it on my sister's and my pasta (with the cap tightly screwed on of course- they all knew kids and extremely spicy foods don't mix!). But the other condiment that was always ever-present on that table was Rosie's Hot Pepper Oil.
Now as fun as Grandpa's red pepper bit was for us kids, it was a well known, unspoken rule that the Hot Pepper Oil was no joking matter. That stuff was the hottest of the hot and not to be played with. A very small amount packed a helluva punch. I'm not sure I even tried it until I was an adult because of the warnings that rang in my ears for as long as I can remember.
But if you like spicy foods, then this is right within your wheel house. And with 2 simple ingredients, you really cannot go wrong! This makes the ideal condiment to drizzle over whatever you happen to be eating to add some heat. But just like Grandma always said: you only need a little!
Hot Pepper Oil
Source: Rose Scuteri
- Olive Oil (I used ½ cup for every pepper but I encourage you to use more if you have them! The more the merrier!)
- The hot peppers of your choice, sliced
Place your oil in a pan on medium low (you really want to keep an eye on the heat because olive oil has a low smoking point, so you peppers will begin burning before you know it. I speak from experience).
Allow it to heat for a couple of minutes and add your peppers.
Keep an eye on it and give it a good stir here and there for about an hour. It will bubble lightly, but if you don't want your peppers to brown.
You'll need to store this in your refrigerator. It can last for a good 6 months, but it must be refrigerated when not in use (which is a general rule with infused oils).
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