I came across a plethora of amazing chiles at the Roasted Chile Festival last weekend at the Rillito Park Farmers Market, but I was most excited to find Corno di Toro chiles from SouthWinds Farm out of Benson being roasted by Red’s Roasters. Red’s was also roasting some mesmerizing New Mexico Hatch Green Chiles, so I decided to make a new salsa that combines the spiciness of the Hatch chiles with the pleasant sweetness of the Corno di Toros.
If you have never encountered Corno di Toro chiles before, they are also known as Italian Sweet Peppers, boasting a mild heat and a fruity flavor. Corno di Toro is Italian for “horn of the bull,” which derives from the chiles’ similar shape to a bull horn.
These peppers have a very interesting history having originated in Central and South America, but later being brought over to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. They became very popular throughout Europe, especially in Italy. Corno di Toro chiles were introduced by Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 1900s.
After Mexican cuisine, my next favorite food is Italian. I have a fond love for Italian culinary and culture, having studied aboard in Orvieto, Italy, several years ago. One of my favorite memories from living in Italy was getting to try new and unique foods from around the country. I was fortunate to take a cooking class while I was there, learning to make pasta and tiramisu from scratch.
My Hatch Corno di Toro Salsa pays tribute to both of these incredible cuisines, mixing the Italian Sweet Peppers and fresh basil with New Mexican Hatch Green Chile and Dried Mexican Oregano. I ended up using this salsa in a variety of ways. It went great as a topping for my chicken tacos, mixed deliciously as a pasta sauce, and was an addictive snack with some homemade chips.
3 Corno di Toro Chiles, roasted, stemmed
2 Hatch chiles, roasted, stemmed, seeded
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, roasted
4 White Onion slices, roasted
2 Garlic Cloves, roasted
2 Basil leaves
½ tsp Dried Mexican Oregano
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
Roast the chiles until charred on all sides. Then carefully remove the charred skin, the stem, and seeds. Transfer the chiles to a blender.
Roast the cherry tomatoes, garlic, and onions until lightly charred on all sides. Once they have completed roasting add them to the blender as well as the basil leaves.
Blend for 30 seconds and then add the rest of the seasonings. Finally, purée for one minute before serving.