When buying peppers, either sweet or hot, look for firm, bright flesh without soft spots. The stem should be bright green.
To quickly seed bell peppers, stand them on a cutting board with the stem up. Holding the stem in one hand, place the cutting edge of a large heavy chef's knife just beyond the edge of the cap. Cut straight down. Turn the pepper and cut straight down again. Repeat all around. Discard the core, seeds, and stem, which will be in one piece.
Red chiles are hotter than green chiles, but the degree of heat depends on the variety and where it is grown. Always wear gloves when handling fresh chiles, as the the oils can burn if they come in contact with your skin, eyes, or nose.
Tiny dried chiles, about the size of your pinky nail, are called diavolilli in Italy, meaning "little devils," because they are so hot. They can be substituted for fresh chiles, or you can use the crushed red pepper available in jars.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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