My Copy Cat Recipe to Replace Marconi’s Hot Chicago-Style Giardiniera

My Chicagoan friend Anthony turned me onto giardiniera years ago, and it was not easy to find. In 2012 I had to drive to an Italian deli in Santa Monica to find hot giardiniera. And let’s be clear, this is not the Italian Giardiniera you find at the grocery store. I tried that and sooo different! That kind is water-based with large chunks of vegetables because it’s an appetizer. Chicago-style giardiniera is small, chopped pieces of vegetables and is usually hot. It’s used as a condiment on sandwiches and other types of food and it’s delicious!

Needless to say I didn’t eat this often because I didn’t know where else to get it (and no, I didn’t think about ordering it online, for some reason), but when I did, I ate it on hot dogs. Just a flavorful condiment; so so good.

I moved to North Carolina for four years and the World Market actually sold Marconi Hot Giardiniera. Doug once bought me a case because they couldn’t always keep it on the shelf. Even when I switched to vegan sausage, I found it was so good with that, as well as mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese.

We moved back to Los Angeles and I was able to get it at the local World Market. And during the pandemic I ordered it online. It still didn’t stay on the shelves for long, and I found that Smart & Final sold a not-as-yummy-but-passable hot giardiniera made by First Street. And then they both stopped carrying it altogether. You can’t even find it on their website, which may change, but right now – nothing.

So I found a recipe that I’ve had to modify 3 times and I have a good Marconi substitute homemade giardiniera that I’m in love with and want to share! And listen, there are lots of giardiniera recipes that boast Chicago-style giardiniera, but this is the closest to Marconi that I have so far.

Also, this is a half batch compared to other online recipes because I prefer to make a little at a time since I’m the only person eating it in my house.

Ingredients for brining vegetables:

  • 1/2 cup cauliflower chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 3 serrano peppers chopped
  • 1/4 cup salt

Directions for brining vegetables:

  1. Combine chopped vegetables and sprinkle with salt. Cover in cold water in a bowl or container with a lid and set in the refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours.

Ingredients for giardiniera:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (you can use olive oil, but it can solidify, so I prefer canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 sport peppers diced (I use Marconi’s jar of sport peppers)

Directions for giardiniera:

  1. Drain and rinse vegetables and set aside.
  2. In separate bowl combine canola oil, vinegar, oregano, crushed red pepper, black pepper and whisk.
  3. Add brined vegetables and sport peppers and stir.
  4. Put in container(s) and cover in more oil if they are not covered.
  5. Set in refrigerator for 2 – 7 days before eating.

Other recipes say that the shelf life is around 3 weeks. Mine never lasts that long!

Leave a Reply