Not so hot: Matera’s crusco chili peppers.
Exploring the rough stone alleys and primitive caves of Matera’s Sassi district burns off calories.
But the local chili peppers have a lot of firepower too.
Crusco — a huge red chili that is sun-dried then fried — is special.
It’s not spicy but instead has a sweet-salty taste.
That’s why no one can quit after eating just one.
Local recipes all seem to feature crusco.
It’s used in simple appetizers and is the star ingredient of strascinate pasta in fried breadcrumbs or with stockfish and baby tomatoes.
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