Ausilio Thin Skin Italian Pepper
This gorgeous, versatile, and delicious blocky pepper originates from Italy and is ideal for stuffing, frying, and canning, with a heat level that ranges from mild to hot. Pendant fruits measure 4 to 5 inches long by 2 to 2.5 inches wide. Its medium-thick flesh matures from green to red, and plants measure 18 to 24 inches tall. This Italian family heirloom pepper was donated to Seed Savers Exchange in 2015 by Chad and Michele Ogle-Riccelli of Des Moines, Iowa. Chad's great-grandparents, Giovanni "John" Ausilio and Rachel P. Scarcello, immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s. Their daughter Theresa continues to grow the pepper, which today is at the center of the family's culinary traditions. It is used for drying, frying, stuffing, canning and making sardas (savory rolls flavored with dried peppers and sardines). When asked why the family chose to preserve this pepper and save seeds form year to year, Chad says, "As Grandma (Theresa Ausilio Riccelli) would tell you, they are her family seeds. Something that special, you love and pass on for generations to come...These peppers are part of our heritage."
- ±4,200 seeds/oz
- Staff Favorite
- Italian-style thin skin frying pepper
- Red fruits grow to 5 inches long
- Moderate to high heat
Instructions - Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Wait to transplant outdoors until soil is warm.
- Start Indoors: 8 weeks before last frost
- Germination: 14 Days
- Plant Outdoors: 12-24” Apart
- Light: Full Sun
Pork-Stuffed ‘Ausilio Thin Skin Italian’ Peppers
By Chad Ogle-Riccelli, donor of the ‘Ausilio Thin Skin Italian’ pepper, inspired by grandparents, Nicholas Domenico “Nick” Riccelli (1924-90) and Theresa Grace Ausilio Riccelli (1925-)
“This is an amazing dish, and you will want more and more—make, bake, and serve with a nice bottle of Chianti wine,” says Chad. “This dish was inspired by a recipe from our grandfather, Nick Riccelli’s, recipe box. Grandma Theresa Ausilio Riccelli speaks often of her late husband’s cooking skills. She said her mother, Rachel Scarcello, taught Nick a lot about cooking, and especially recipes with the family pepper. Nick enjoyed spending lots of time with Rachel to become skilled preparing and cooking her family recipes. For measurements, she put a handful, fingerful, or pinch of spices or ingredients in her palm and put them into his versus using a measuring cup.”
Serves about 6
- 1 pound of ground pork
- Half handful of fresh cut garlic (or minced)
- Few pinches of pepper
- Few pinches of salt
- Handful of fresh chopped basil
- Handful of fresh chopped parsley
- Handful of (Italian) bread crumbs, lightly moisten with a bit of milk
- 2 eggs
- Handful or two of freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Handful or two of freshly shredded Romano cheese
- 6-8 ‘Ausilio Thin Skin Italian’ peppers
Preheat oven to 420° F.
While oven is warming up, mix all the ingredients except the peppers together in large bowl. Pick six to eight ‘Ausilio Thin Skin Italian’ peppers from the garden and wipe them off with dry and/or lightly dampen cloth. If you do not want them to taste especially spiced, rinse them with water thoroughly. Remove seeds from peppers and stuff with pork mix. Place in square dish. (Our family likes to add diced potatoes in medium size pieces prior to baking.)
Cover with your favorite sauce, and feel free to use a homemade sauce which includes the ‘Ausilio Thin Skin’ peppers as well. Once oven is ready, place dish in oven for 30 minutes. After a half hour, pull dish out and add chunks of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil as a finishing touch. Bake another 15 minutes or until pork is done (total baking time is some 45 minutes).
Ratings & Reviews
This is one of my favorite peppers. Sprouted and grew very easily. It's got a little kick, but not nearly as hot as a Jalepeno or Serrano. Very good flavor. And it's got a great history.
A new favorite for my garden every year
Amazing pepper that sprouted easily and was a steady producer in zone 7. Nice heat, milder than a jalapeno but still makes my hands tingle if I handle the seeds. Great raw and cooked. This is my favorite new pepper to grow every year now.
My new favorite Seed Savers pepper!
I first grew these in 2019 and they will continue to be a part of my garden. Easy to grow and very productive. Just the right amount of heat and great flavor. Can't recommend highly enough! Zone 5A.
Delicious and versatile pepper.
Wonderful peppers and so easy to grow and maintain. Our family loves them. These are great stuffed for appetizers, sautéed and tossed with pasta and fresh herbs and also diced raw on salads.
Italian Thin Skin Pepper
The thin skin Italian pepper has been an Italian family's choice of stuffing and frying peppers for century's and migrated to the southside of Des Moines since Italians from Terraveccia Italy settled here. What's unique about them is the heat, some time there hot sometime there not. I knew Mrs. Ausilio and my hat is off to the Ausilio family for doing their best to preserve the Pepper.
Sweet and Mildly Spicy
I planted these first time this year! Wow! Sweet and mild spicy what a combo. Absolutely love these will plant more next year. So good fried and added to many dishes. Love these!
Sturdy Plants - Bug Resistant
I haven't tasted these yet, but WOW, what a little firecracker of a pepper! The plants are sturdy, the pepper neat as it appears to grow upwards, and the bugs don't bother it. I can't wait to taste these. Has anyone canned these?
Grow these peppers. They are medium-hot, thin-skinned, and simply delicious. They are great in sauce, fresh on salads, grilled, sautéed, or prepared any way you like peppers. My new favorite.
I love this pepper
These are one of my favorite hot peppers. I grow these every year. They are excellent and flavorful when fried, they dry well, and they look so beautiful when you pick them fully ripe, a shiny bright red color. They are the perfect level of heat for me. I think the chili paste recipe on Chili Pepper Madness works very well with this variety; even my mother, who isn't a huge fan of spicy peppers, liked the paste.