An heirloom from Italy
In common with many other Mediterranean countries, Italy likes its Chillies (particularly mild sweet horn Chillies like Cruschi and Friggitelli ). In some parts, notably Calabria, hot Chillies are used to make oils, spicy pasta sauces, and other dishes like Nduja.
One mild variety that is particularly associated with Bell peppers in Itay is the Quadrato D’ Asti. This thick-walled bell pepper gets its name from its shape. Quadrato from Italian means square of cubed, which this pepper is. It is a big heirloom pepper that grows to between four and six inches (100 mm to 150 mm) long and 4 inches (100 mm) wide.
The fruit ripens from green to either yellow, red-brown, purple or orange. They often have a stripy appearance, with green interspersed with its primary colour
It grows on bushes that reach a height of 36 inches with a diameter of 10 inches. It grows to maturity in 75 to 85 days and produces a high yield. In line with other Bell peppers, it is a cultivar of the Capsicum annuum species
The Quadrato D’ Asti is popular in Italy, where it is used for stuffing, salads and roasting. This pepper has a crispy, rich and sweet taste. Quadrato D’ Asti peppers are used in recipes like Peperoni Ripieni Con Manzo e Riso (stuffed peppers with meat and rice), Panzanella salad ( salad made with bread and peppers), Peperonata ( Italian Bell pepper stew) and Insalata di pepperoni arrosto(Italian roast pepper salad).
Quadrato D’ Asti can be substituted by ordinary Bell peppers if there is no other alternative. These are not peppers that you will easily find outside Itay, but they can quite easily be grown at home. Advice on how to grow Quadrato D’ Asti and other Chillies can be found on our growing Chillies in the UK page