Sweet Red Hell – Hot Pepper Relish

by Pamela

Sweet Red Hell - Hot Pepper Relish

This hot pepper relish not only brings the heat, it also brings tons of flavor. Yes, you can have hot and flavor at the same time. Hot pepper relish is the perfect topper for sandwiches, grilled chicken, pork, beef, pasta and plain ol’ bread. You can smear this hot pepper relish on pretty much everything…and you will.

I recently returned from a trip to Italy, where I took a cooking class from the world famous Mama Agata. Aside from eating and drinking myself into a total coma, I actually learned a lot about Italian cooking. (It’s not just throwing some dried pasta in pot of boiling water and topping it with a bunch of tomato sauce.)

Hot Pepper Relish

One of Mama Agata’s famous “dishes” is a condiment she calls Red Hell. With a name like that you’d expect it to be hotter than well, hell. Surprisingly, it’s not. Sure, it’s definitely got a spicy kick but there’s so much flavor going on in that little hot pepper relish you can’t stop eating it. We were smearing it on (and in) everything we ate. After class, I wanted to buy a jar to bring home, but I was too late. She had sold the last jar and would be out for two weeks. I couldn’t wait.

Out to the store and into the kitchen I went. I wanted to make a batch of my own Red Hell. Unfortunately, living in Texas doesn’t really give me much (none) access to fresh Italian peppers. Time to improvise. I picked up jars of Mezzetta peppers along with a fresh bell pepper and sweet banana peppers. Of course we didn’t get the rundown of what was in the original hot pepper relish, but I think my version is pretty darn close to the original. (Mama would be proud.)

Hot Pepper Relish from Mama Agata

This recipe can easily be multiplied and customized to your taste. As it’s written, I’d say this hot pepper relish has a medium heat. You can add more or less hot peppers as your taste buds and sinuses can take. I recommend that you make the recipe as it’s written and then add to it from there.

Sweet Red Hell - Hot Pepper Relish
Prep time
Total time
Hot pepper relish with heat and flavor! This hot pepper relish is going to be your new favorite condiment, you can put it on everything.
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: ½ cup
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Tomatoes (not packed in oil or water)
  • ¼ Cup Pepperoncini, drained
  • ¼ Cup Hot Chili Peppers
  • 3 Red Sweet Cherry Peppers, stemmed and cut in half
  • ½ Sweet Red Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • ½ Sweet Banana (or Hungarian) Pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor.
  2. Buzz until everything well combined and you can still see the seeds and really small pieces. You don't want to turn this into a smooth paste.
  3. Taste it and adjust it to your liking.
  4. Spoon into a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.


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