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Meal of the Week: Taking it to the streets - A savoury Neapolitan sandwich

A Naples street food favourite - Cuzzetiello
A Naples street food favourite - Cuzzetiello Copyright Copyright Savin Mattozzi
Copyright Copyright Savin Mattozzi
By Savin Mattozzi
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In order to really benefit from Euronews Culture's meal of the week, treat the instructions as a guide but feel free to get creative! The only ingredient you must use is tender, loving care. Buon appetito!

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One of my favourite things about the culinary scene in Naples is the accessibility of street food. On nearly every corner in the city centre there’s a little shop or stand selling anything from pizza portafoglio (pizza folded into a pocket), a wide variety of fried foods - and the famous and super popular cuzzetiello.

The cuzzetiello has a much more informal history than other famous foods in the city.

Before it became a popular street food, it was more of a casual family tradition where children would take the end of a hard piece of bread and put leftover ragù from Sunday lunch inside of it.

This practice eventually developed into the modern iteration of the cuzzetiello that you can find stuffed with ragù and, sometimes, added meatballs. Since it’s become such a popular street food, shops have capitalised on its success by varying the fillings. Often they’ll stuff bread with different types of Neapolitan fillings like aubergine with sauce and mushrooms, local spinach and meatballs and sweet peppers and sausage.

Due to this food being relatively untraditional compared to some other dishes from Naples, the fillings you choose can be pretty flexible. A note of caution though - whatever you decide to put into your bread, be prepared to go heavy on the napkins because cuzzetiello is notoriously messy to eat.

Copyright Savin Mattozzi
A close up of Naples street food favourite CuzzetielloCopyright Savin Mattozzi

Here’s how to make my favourite version…

Ingredients:

1 large piece of fresh bread

2 spicy sausages

4 large sweet peppers

A dozen black olives

Olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

Spicy chilli peppers (to taste)

Smoked paprika

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Black pepper

Fresh parsley

Salt

Preparation:

Take the stems off the top of your peppers and cut them in half, then cut the peppers vertically into one centimetre thick slices and place in a bowl.

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Mince your garlic and place in a hot pan with 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil until the garlic becomes slightly brown.

Add in your peppers, chilli peppers, paprika, black pepper, fresh parsley, salt and olives. Mix well on low heat and cover for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

The peppers must be very soft and they should be easy to scoop up with a spoon. When this is possible, place them aside.

Take the two sausages and brown them in the leftover oil from the peppers in the same pan. Cut them open vertically and flip them so the inside of the sausage is face down in the pan. Make sure they are cooked all the way through.

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While the sausages are cooking, cut your bread in half and remove the insides and put them

to the side. Don’t waste the inside - they could, for example, be used as breadcrumbs for meatballs for another meal.

After the sausages are done, put them into the bread followed by the peppers.

You can wrap it in a napkin or just dig directly in for a messy but filling meal. Buon Appetito!

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Savin Mattozzi is a freelance journalist based in Naples, Italy. He loves exploring the intersection of food, history and culture in the Mediterranean.

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