Friggitelli, friarielli or puparulilli: call them whatever you want, but friggitelli
They are not spicy and have a slightly bitter taste: the sweet green peppers, better known as friggitelli, are a typical Campanian vegetable cultivated both in the Agro Nocerino Sarnese area, in the province of Salerno, and in the area of Acerra and Nola, in the province of Naples. The two types differ slightly: the river chili called nocerese is more irregular, while the Neapolitan one is characterized by an elongated and pointed shape.
Friggitelli or friarielli?
The difference is not just in form. Green peppers are known throughout Italy as fry, but in the Agro Nocerino Sarnese, one of the main production areas, they are normally called friarielli. It will seem strange, given that in the rest of Italy the friarielli are identified exclusively in those that in practice are turnip tops.
Basically, friggitelli and friarielli both refer to the preferred cooking method, or frying. But if you are in Campania and are about to order at the restaurant, it is better to use the right name: while in the Agro you will have to ask for the friariello, or friariell, in Naples you will have to call them puparulill or peperunciello and ’ciumm (river peppers).
How to cook green peppers or friggitelli
As the name specifies, the green peppers were invented specifically to be fried and are perfect as a side dish or appetizer. From nocerino doc, I can assure you that this recipe is also a delicious filling for sandwiches, perfect among other things to accompany a burger with genuine Italian ingredients.
The traditional recipe calls for the use of whole friggitelli, without removing seeds and petiole (so you can also eat them with your hands!).
First, wash the friggitelli and dry them well; in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, brown a clove of garlic (to taste, add some dried chilli); color the peppers by boiling them over high heat for a few minutes, add the salt, then lower the heat and add a little water; cover with the lid and cook for about 10 minutes, until they are wilted.
Usually, half-cooked, fresh tomatoes are added: an exquisite sauce comes out.
This is probably the most widespread recipe in Campania to savor the goodness of friggitelli, but it is not the only one.
Friggitelli with potatoes
An alternative is to combine friggitelli with potatoes. It is essential to cut them into rather small wedges so that they can be cooked more easily.
You can proceed in two ways: in the first case, the potatoes should be cooked together with the friggitelli, but you will have to set some times a little longer than the original recipe, necessary to ensure the successful cooking of the potatoes.
Alternatively, you can first prepare the friggitelli and, once cooked, remove them temporarily from the pan to cook the potatoes in their oil. Finally, mix the friggitelli in the pan with the potatoes again.
Another essential recipe is that of stuffed friggitelli. Eliminate the top of the chili and try to remove the seeds inside it without breaking it. Stuff the chilies as you like and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 °. Any idea for the filling? Try a classic mince of meat, eggs, herbs, breadcrumbs, and grated cheese, or a mix of tomatoes, basil, capers, bread crumbs, pecorino or feta. Sbizzarritevi!
Friggitelli are also excellent as a condiment for pasta: in this case, cut them into slices, making sure to remove seeds and stalk.