Here's the intro to the Ruhlman & Polcyn recipe (p 185 in the first edition):
I don't think that this is an American conspiracy, either. In The Oxford Companion to Food, under "Sausages of Italy," we find:
This heavily seasoned sausage, dating to Roman times, is widely produced in America (where we spell it pepperoni), by virtue of its importance on pizza. Because of this mass production, the version most of us know is a pale imitation of the original peperone. True peperone (the name means large pepper , or large strong-tasting fruit) is a very lean, tangy, highly spiced sausage.
Across the channel, in Larousse Gastronomique, we find the entry "peperone":
Salami made in S. Italy and Sardinia are distinguished by their spiciness. They include...Peperone, long, narrow, and highly spiced.
(Oh, and to clarify above, the Ruhlman & Polcyn soppressata recipe is 80 lean/20 fat but 100% pork, no beef.)
Also known as peperoni [sic]. A spicy Italian salami or sausage of pork and beef, which may be eaten raw. It is a popular topping for pizza.
Linguistic is not my thing but like most Italians, when I first visited the US, and I heard of "pepperoni" pizza, my thought where in order: 1. why it is written with two p, 2. where is the pepper? since I was expecting a bell pepper on my pizza
While the suffix "one" means big in Italian, when I say peperone, I don't think at a "big" pepper. Notice that "pepe" in Italian is pepper as in the spice: pepe in grani, grains of pepper in italian. While peperone is referred to the capsicum.
If there was such a salame (another misproununced Italian word in English) in the ancient Rome, with such a name, I don't know. If there was a thin salame heavely spiced, oh well, I would not be surprised.
From Wikipedia in Italian a list of the most traditional italian salami by regionHere
No mention of this peperone anywhere
Other thing for Kent. Although I see that you are saying call the stuff with their name: "pepperoni" the American salame and other salami with their name. I can tell you that to me what is produced in the US and that I tried still doesn't taste like the stuff with the same name I have in Italy. I learned from the Charcuterie thread that the cure used in the US is different. Well, I don't know if it's that or something else again (maybe Jason Molinari could answer) but the American produced salame tastes off to me, I don't like the aftertaste.
I don't have any info on the origins but I'm sort of puzzled by the insistence this is American. When I lived in Philly I lived practically next door to the famous DiBruno Bros Italian specialty shop and they sold, among all their fabulous meats, pepperoni from Sicily, from Abbruzze, and one handmade one of their own. They were fabulous; I used to buy them all the time to use in antipasti and cooking.
Has the law changed? Because, I was left that while you can import prosciutto, mortadella, speck, you cannot import salame.
I know DiBruno well, because my husband went to University in Philly, but there is not such a thing as "pepperoni" from Abruzzo or Sicily. They might buy some sort of salame that has been spiced with spices more typical in those regions and decided to call like that.
Edited by Franci, 25 March 2012 - 03:18 AM.