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Pepperoni is a spicy Italian-American variety of salami (a dry sausage) usually made from cured pork and beef, but poultry may be added, if labeled correctly, for less expensive versions. Pepperoni is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color.  It is a descendant of the spicy salamis of southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante, a spicy dry sausage from Naples, or the soppressata from Calabria, but unlike these sausages it is smoked and has a finer grain. Sodium nitrite, used as a curing agent, is what gives pepperoni the pink part of its distinct orange-pink color, while paprika or other capsicum provides the orange part. Thinly sliced pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in American-style pizzerias. Also, it is sometimes used to make sub sandwiches.
The term pepperoni is a corruption of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for pepper (the fruit, not the spice). The first reference using pepperoni to refer to a sausage dates to 1919. Throughout continental Europe, peperone is a common word for various types of capsicum, including bell peppers and a small, spicy and often pickled pepper known as peperoncino or peperone piccante in Italy and peperoncini or banana peppers in the U.S. Unlike in Europe, the English word pepperoni is used as a singular uncountable noun.
To order a very similar food in Italy, one would request salamino piccante to get a spicy sausage made only of pork and beef. Usually the Italian name for a pepperoni pizza is pizza alla diavola (pizza devil-style, very similar in appearance to the pepperoni pizza). Asking for a pizza with "salamino piccante calabro" or "spianata calabra" (hot salami typical of Calabria, generally made in large cylinders of meat, slightly flattened in the case "spianata") one could get a pizza covered with large slices of salami instead of the slices of hot sausage. The original salami from Calabria can be much spicier than American pepperoni or other types of Italian spicy sausages.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "How Food Works: Pepperoni is Raw Meat?". Archived from the original on 2009-02-24. http://howfoodworks.blogspot.com/2009/02/pepperoni-is-raw-meat.html.
- ↑ Peery, Susan M. & Reavis, Charles G. Home Sausage Making: How-to Techniques for Making and Enjoying 100 Sausages at Home, third ed. North Adams, Mass.: Storey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 9781580174718.
- ↑ Food Standards and Labelling Policy Book, USDA, pp. 133–134.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Pepperoni: On Top". http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/dining/02pepperoni.html.