This easy recipe for roasted Italian long hot peppers is a simple, delicious appetizer or side dish that takes just 5 ingredients and 20 minutes to make. Serve them on an antipasti platter, with crusty bread, or add them to sandwiches and salads for an extra burst of flavor.
If you live anywhere on the east coast, there's a good chance you've had Italian long hot peppers, or "long hots." Where I live in New Jersey, long hots are a staple amongst Italian Americans and can be found on just about every single Italian restaurant menu.
Long hots are, well... hot. Like shishito peppers and jalapeños, they can vary widely in their spice level and eating them can be like a game of Russian roulette - but that's part of the fun! They have a complex and sweet flavor profile which is why they're so beloved in Italian cooking.
Long hots have thin skins and meaty flesh, so they stand up great to roasting, grilling, braising and pickling. I also love them buzzed up into a spicy pesto along with all of the other usual ingredients - basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and plenty of olive oil.
These spicy Italian peppers are often stuffed, stewed in marinara sauce or simply roasted and served with crusty Italian bread. Once you master this simple long hot pepper recipe, you can keep them on hand for topping pizzas, sandwiches, hoagies, subs or chop them up and add them to a salad like this warm potato salad with bacon and long hots.
Why this recipe works
- Easy, beginner friendly recipe - anyone can make these!
- Only 5 ingredients including salt and pepper.
- Versatile - enjoy them as an appetizer, snack, side or condiment!
- A must-make for lovers of spicy food.
- Italian Long Hot Chile Peppers - Sometimes called hot Italian frying peppers, Italian long hots are characterized by their long, skinny, sometimes curled appearance. They tend to have mild heat to medium heat, but sometimes they can have a pretty high heat level. Long hot peppers start off green but ripen into bright red peppers that take on a sweeter, more fruity flavor. Use whichever color you prefer.
- Where to Buy - Look for Italian long hot peppers in grocery stores and at farmer's markets throughout the Northeast United States - particularly New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia - or in the greater Chicago region.
- Substitutions - If you can't find long hot peppers, Anaheim peppers make a great substitute since they're similar in size, flavor and heat. If you're opposed to spice, you can use sweet peppers like cubanelles or even regular bell peppers. You can also look for Jimmy Nardello peppers, an heirloom variety that looks and tastes like a long hot, but without the spice. Sometimes they're called "long nots."
- Olive Oil - Use extra virgin olive oil and don't be shy with it. A good quality olive oil will make a big difference in this recipe.
Step by step instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the long hots and garlic cloves with olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure there is a little bit of room around each pepper - don't crowd the pan.
- Roast peppers for about 20 minutes or until they're softened and golden brown in spots. Toss peppers once half way through to promote even cooking.
- Transfer to a serving plate, generously drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve them warm or at room temperature.
Tips for success
- Start with fresh peppers - make sure they're bright and crisp with glossy skin, not wilted and limp. And be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly before cooking!
- Wear gloves when handling hot peppers to avoid burning your hands or eyes.
- Add as many cloves of garlic as you wish - there's no limit!
- Line your baking pan with parchment paper first for easier clean up and to avoid any peppers sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- As part of a vegetable antipasti with marinated zucchini and eggplant caponata with crusty fresh Italian bread.
- Blended into pesto and tossed with hot pasta.
- With Italian sausage and peppers.
- On Italian roast pork sandwiches with broccoli rabe.
- With sausage and broccoli rabe pasta.
- Baked with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Stuffed with prosciutto and provolone cheese and baked.
FAQ About Italian Long Hots
Italian long hot peppers can vary quite a bit in their spiciness, ranking anywhere from 100 to 1,000 Scoville Heat Units, similar to a jalapeño. I have found that long hots purchased at the grocery store tend to be milder than long hots from the farmers market during peak season (late summer), but that's just my personal experience. It's generally a crap-shoot.
Once roasted, long hots will keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week. If you submerge them entirely in olive oil and keep covered in the refrigerator they will last for up to a month. You can also freeze roasted long hots in a zip-top bag for up to 4 months. You can reheat in the oven or microwave, but they are fine to eat cold - I prefer them at room temperature.
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