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Found this video by Twisted Throttle to be very objective on the subject. Seems that aside from the wet clutch issues there really isn't much difference as long as you use the right weight. Make sure the specs are what your scooter manual recommends and avoid any oil that says "Energy Conserving."

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My understanding is that the biggest difference between car and motorcycle oils is the additive packages to withstand the beating the transmission's gears inflict upon the lubricant and well as the higher temperatures and rpms the oils need to withstand.

While scooters won't have the shear issues associated with meshing gears and slipping clutches, I feel the money saved by using less expensive automotive grade oils isn't worth it, given the rpm and temperature issues are still there. Not many car engines ask their oil to withstand an hour or two at 6000rpm.
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Fritz Katzenjammer wrote:
My understanding is that the biggest difference between car and motorcycle oils is the additive packages to withstand the beating the transmission's gears inflict upon the lubricant and well as the higher temperatures and rpms the oils need to withstand.

While scooters won't have the shear issues associated with meshing gears and slipping clutches, I feel the money saved by using less expensive automotive grade oils isn't worth it, given the rpm and temperature issues are still there. Not many car engines ask their oil to withstand an hour or two at 6000rpm.
Right. Never use cheap oil and make sure it has all of the specs and is the right weight. Other than additives for the wet clutch with motorcycles I cannot find any definitive differences between car and motorcycle synthetic oil other than the two different words.
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I read years ago that motorcycle oils have more zinc to help deter camshaft wear.
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kz1000ST wrote:
I read years ago that motorcycle oils have more zinc to help deter camshaft wear.
Yeah I think it used to be more important before ashless dispersants started being used.
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You can't tell by me. I've been using car oils for years and never suffered an oil related failure. My '79 Kawasaki ran fine up to 125,000 miles but it never revved like a small displacement scooter.
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Fritz hit it on the nose.

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some engine oil any weight or brand conventional or synthetic is better than no engine oil.

and that is a fact that is and can't be disputed.

now while 90% of the scooters engine is totally separate from their transmission so they are more common related to car engines and only need to lubricate the engine itself I would not hesitate to use a good quality car oil that meets the Jaso MA rating.
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And always change it at the recommended intervals, not like some who write here that they have 40,000 miles and are amazed because they find orange marmalade instead of oil ...
old as dirt wrote:
... not hesitate to use a good quality car oil that meets the Jaso MA rating.
And API.
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
Fritz hit it on the nose.

That's because the poor bugger worked in quality and engineering making automotive bearing components for 15 years. It got so bad I would find myself talking teflon additives with DuPont Detroit's tech reps over lunch because that qualifies as small talk. It could be interesting as hell but I don't miss the crap that went with it.

Ask me about working with Iat some time.... so sad....
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stickyfrog wrote:
Found this video by Twisted Throttle to be very objective on the subject. Seems that aside from the wet clutch issues there really isn't much difference as long as you use the right weight. Make sure the specs are what your scooter manual recommends and avoid any oil that says "Energy Conserving."

The one thing he doesn't do is explain just exactly how different the two types of oil are. The difference between the two oil types goes considerably further than just things like friction modifiers. He also hasn't tested the two types in identical engines under the same conditions over high mileages. We did & found a big difference in the amount of engine wear between the motors. And these motors were blueprinted before & after testing to allow proper validation. We also did this on lots of motor types & found the same results each time.

Main reason is the additives & the way MC oil clings to all the critical engine parts at high & hot rpms. This is courtesy of the MC oils considerably enhanced "electrostatic cling", a feature of the additives that have an electron imbalance between them and their protons that attracts them to metal components inside the engine. A bit like static electricity attracting your hair to a balloon that's just been rubbed over your woolly jumper. People say thats crazy but that's actually how it works. This ability allows the oil to even self repair any breaks in the oil film, healing the break.

Then there's the increased oil film strength that MC oil has & it's ability to stay fully in spec much longer than car oil when in a higher revving bike engine. It handles high loads & high temperature so much better than car oil. All these things are why Rotella was found to be a poor substitute for MC oil. And that's ok because it's not designed for bikes. Shell & no other car or truck oil manufacturer recommends using it in an MC or scooter, neither does Piaggio, any dealers, informed techs & engineers, engine designers (that's me) or any testing houses. But folks are free to do as they wish.

All those things matter a lot.

Good thread stickyfrog!
⚠️ Last edited by Stromrider on UTC; edited 4 times
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In US big fan of WalMart 10-40---500,000 miles use in air cooled/watercooled bikes and scooters=no engine trouble. Priced right--used in wet and dry clutch. Secret change every 60 days or 3,000 miles---bikes like fresh oil.
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That's all very good John. In our testing of engines with different oils we found changing out oil early or when it became "dirty" or darker in colour made absolutely no difference to the amount of engine wear taking place inside the motor. As long as you don't go over the mileage or timescale limit set by the manufacturer it simply isn't required that you change the oil frequently or early. That is unless using the bike under extreme conditions which includes doing short trips where the motor doesn't warm up properly. But most of us know that.

Using cheap lower spec oils & changing them early in the hope that it's ok did promote extra engine wear we found. Cheaper oils have less of the right additives in them & therefore didn't protect the motors very well. I don't specifically know what oil specs you have been using or what bikes but if it works for you that's fine. Just saying what the science & reality is. Using the right oil is just about the biggest thing you can do to promote a long trouble free life for your bike & yourself. It saves you money long term.
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Great info there StromRider! 👍
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If MC riders running car oil would experience oil -related failures, it would help the case for MC oil. It's hard to convince longtime riders to change for no tangible result. I've used car oil for 50 years in many bikes including BMW and Ducati. I agree that MC oils are "formulated for the demands of todaty's high performance motorcycles" but that jargon also sells mc coolant, fork oil and brake fluid
The consumer is free to seperate marketing from value base on data, experience or peer pressure. That's why we love a nice contentious oil thread.
I intend to use Motul Syn in my Vespa from now on. Why? It's just a quart.
⚠️ Last edited by Topolino on UTC; edited 1 time
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Darker is the additives working. Having lived over 20 years in Europe, I think the high prices of oils there is why longer mileage or time is spec by OEM makers. Walmart in N America is cheap/fairly priced and available almost everywhere. Works for me and I have ridden the miles. Short runs probably wear engine out quicker.
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Another thing to consider is air-cooled vs water-cooled engines and the oil that is needed to protect the engine on both. On engines with a separate transmission, oil with friction modifiers are fine. With most bikes, however, I use dedicated motorcycle oil. But I mostly just put around now and don't put the miles on like I used to, so the oil gets changed like twice a year. And that's not going to break the bank to pay a few bucks more.
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john grinsel wrote:
Darker is the additives working. Having lived over 20 years in Europe, I think the high prices of oils there is why longer mileage or time is spec by OEM makers. Walmart in N America is cheap/fairly priced and available almost everywhere. Works for me and I have ridden the miles. Short runs probably wear engine out quicker.
I think it's the other way round John. Here in Europe we have a much more realistic approach to oil change intervals. We follow the science. We have much tighter advertising rules too governing what companies say about products such as oil.

I've had cars that required oil changes only every two years or 28,000 miles yet those motors have covered 230-240,000 miles trouble free. My present car requires oil changes only every 16,500 miles. In the States it seems folks are being told to go change their oil every 5,000 miles or so on some cars or their warranty is invalidated. Totally unnecessary in my view. My cousin in the States had to do this on his new Ford. Over here the same car & engine goes 12,000 miles in-between oil changes. Yet our engines last just as long as the ones in your cars in the States but without costing us the same amount of money or oil, or wasting valuable oil resources. The reality is that changing oil often & early doesn't have any actual benefit other than making owners feel good & lining the pockets of garage or store owners. But hey, if folks want to do that it's up to them. I do think you guys in the States get a raw deal though from vehicle manufacturers forcing you to do this stuff.
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A bit off topic but likely worth throwing out there.

One time I was sitting with the technical team from DuPont Detroit, discussing material requirements for some new component we were prototyping and one of the guys commented that he had been heavily involved with teflon in the past. As DuPont owns the material, or at least did in those days, and he was one of their gurus on the subject I asked what he thought of the specialist oils which contain teflon and claim to be the best or the best. As I already regarded most of these products as snake oil, I expected a pretty negative response, but I was not ready for the wall of laughter I got out of them.

His comment was that teflon is a solid, so if your filter is doing its job it should be removed from the oil after its first pass through said filter.

And even if it wasn't, its not going to stick to the working surfaces of the engine as claimed because.. well.. its friggin teflon isn't it!

He suggested that if it wasn't immediately picked off by the filter it would end up in the sludge traps, which are there to catch wayward fine solids, or sitting in the nasty stuff in the bottom of the sump.
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Just got back from an evening with some buddies. One, who knows I'm the group's motorhead, asked me if I thought he should be changing over to synthetic oil in his car.

Turns out he has an 04 Saturn with 310,000km on it which is still hardly consuming any oil. I asked him why he was considering changing his ways now and suggested he keep doing what he had been doing as its obviously friggin working.

Best to not temp the gods of petroleum and bearings.
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My old 2009 Genuine Buddy 125 didn't have a wet clutch so I just used Wal-Mart 10-40 car oil. I changed it every 3000ish miles and did the filter every odd number/every other oil change. Never had an engine issue in the 40,000 miles I've owned it.

Same with my 1996 Honda Helix back in the day. Cheap Wal-Mart 10-40 oil. No wet clutch. Changed every 5000 miles. Didn't know better back then but the car oil never gave my engine any issues. Got 90,000 miles before wreaking it.

Now with my 2019 Liberty 150 I just run whats recommended in the owners manual. Still no wet clutch. I order the 'everything included' oil change kit from AF1. Every 3000 miles and the filter every odd number. The recommended oil is a bit more money but the Liberty cost a bit more than the Buddy. It's not like I'm a dispatch rider or delivering Grub Hub with my scooter.
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Guzzi Gal wrote:
Fritz hit it on the nose.

He did. We don't have a wet clutch on our scooters so no difference.
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Stromrider wrote:
The one thing he doesn't do is explain just exactly how different the two types of oil are. The difference between the two oil types goes considerably further than just things like friction modifiers. He also hasn't tested the two types in identical engines under the same conditions over high mileages. We did & found a big difference in the amount of engine wear between the motors. And these motors were blueprinted before & after testing to allow proper validation. We also did this on lots of motor types & found the same results each time.

Main reason is the additives & the way MC oil clings to all the critical engine parts at high & hot rpms. This is courtesy of the MC oils considerably enhanced "electrostatic cling", a feature of the additives that have an electron imbalance between them and their protons that attracts them to metal components inside the engine. A bit like static electricity attracting your hair to a balloon that's just been rubbed over your woolly jumper. People say thats crazy but that's actually how it works. This ability allows the oil to even self repair any breaks in the oil film, healing the break.

Then there's the increased oil film strength that MC oil has & it's ability to stay fully in spec much longer than car oil when in a higher revving bike engine. It handles high loads & high temperature so much better than car oil. All these things are why Rotella was found to be a poor substitute for MC oil. And that's ok because it's not designed for bikes. Shell & no other car or truck oil manufacturer recommends using it in an MC or scooter, neither does Piaggio, any dealers, informed techs & engineers, engine designers (that's me) or any testing houses. But folks are free to do as they wish.

All those things matter a lot.

Good thread stickyfrog!
Very informative. So the word motorcycle on the label is the difference even if it has the same specs?
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Hi sticky, well the formulations of the oils (car and mc oil) are different. Yet they can meet the same or similar standard. This is often what confuses people. I had many conversations both on and off board with Aviator47 (Al, bless him) many years ago about this very thing. He unfortunately didn't have up to date knowledge and training regarding oil and could not accept that any differences existed if the standards were the same. He worked with oil in the military decades ago when things were very different with oil formulations.

Folks tend to think that if a car or truck oil has the same standard on the jug as mc oil it's the same oil and suitable for use in their mc. Rotella for example says it meets Jaso whatever on the side of the jug which makes folks think it's safe for mc's. But in fact it doesn't meet the Jaso standard, it just performs like it does. Shell says it must not be used in mc engines with or without a wet clutch due to higher revs reached by mc engine and a whole load of other stuff etc etc. Don't get me wrong, Rotella is a fine oil in diesels but it's just not designed for mc engine type use. And you can see that is the case. The average diesel engine revs real low during normal use and like my old BMW cars would rarely ever go over 2000rpm. Yet my Vespa GTS is revving mostly around 7000rpm most of the time when I'm out on her. You can see that the GTS motor will have a different requirement for oil and that is with regard to many factors such as "cling", carbon dissolving & wrapping up, oil film strength, detergent, extreme pressure agents, and the ability to stay in spec for the required amount of time etc etc. Car oils in mc's tend to go out of spec very very quickly and that is bad news. There's a whole load of other stuff I could mention too but I've said it elsewhere on this board and won't go there again.

So if the mc and car oils say they meet the same spec, they probably do but they both have different formulations suited to their specific jobs. The motorcycle oil will invariably be far superior in every way exceeding the specs and standards by far. This is why mc oil is more expensive. It's not just marketing on the part of the oil companies to make you think mc oil is better. It actually is and will protect your pride and joy better for longer. It's folks who do higher mileages that will notice the benefits more than folks who just potter about, but using car or truck oil in a bike can also have other consequences such as early component failures. This is another reason some think that using car oil or Rotella is ok because they haven't (yet) suffered any consequences, due to the way the bike is used or their low mileage. But the extra wear from car oil does add up over the years and can curtail the life of the engine much earlier than an mc oil would allow. On our test engines car oils and truck oils shortened the life on the test bench by as much as 40%. I'd add that the motors were often run at full throttle for long periods of time. However, when you extrapolate the results to real life use it means you may suffer a shortening of your bike engines life by as much as 1/3. So why take the risk! A GTS engine will if looked after reach 90-100,000 miles. We have several over here that have done that. But you are unlikely to go that far if car oil is used.
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Stromrider wrote:
A GTS engine will if looked after reach 90-100,000 miles. We have several over here that have done that. But you are unlikely to go that far if car oil is used.
Having almost 50,000 miles on my MP3, I'll say three things.
1. I don't doubt anything you say (actually, pretty much ever, but specifically in the post above).
2. I don't doubt a GTS will go in excess of 100,000 miles on its original engine if well cared for, as you say.

But....

3. I sincerely doubt that more than 2% of all scooters sold in the US ever exceed 50,000 miles, which based on what you say suggests car oil will be just fine.
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Stromrider. Laughing emoticon
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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Yeah, point taken Madison. It's the lads that keep bikes long term & do big mileages that will mostly notice if not using MC oil. Increased oil consumption being just one thing. It's up to individuals to decide what to use, I just like newbies & everyone to know the actual facts so they make an informed decision.
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super-fly wrote:
Stromrider. Laughing emoticon
Yeah, I've done that!!
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yes. hello. just chiming in here.

I don't actually read oil threads and just wanted to say that I'm making stuffed peppers instead of wasting my time with this nonsense.

that's all. that's my full input.

well, that and don't run mobile1 0-20 because nobody will have a good time.

enjoy your slippery discussion!
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Aviator47 wrote:
If you use the oil specified (not the "recommended" brand) in the operator manual and follow the oil and filter change intervals, you will be just fine. It won't hurt you engine if you use Mrs Buttersworth rather than Motil, if the viscosity and service rating are as specified in the manual.

FWIW, even recycled oil, certified to meet a given viscosity and API Service rating will be just fine. It has to be equal in all aspects to "brand new oil" to get that viscosity and service rating. Simply stated, service rating is the amount of demand that an oil can be placed under before deteriorating below a given serviceability.
Thanks, Al!
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Syd wrote:
Thanks, Al!
And on that point he is correct, but wrong on so many issues relating to the currently discussed subject...lol. Ignoring facts and science is never good. Opinions are great but not if based upon ignorance.

Greasy, this "nonsense" is actually very important especially for newbies. I've also noticed you do read 'oil threads'! lol. Facepalm emoticon

I'm out of this now.
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In garage: Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956
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Location: Latina (Italy)
UTC quote
Stuffed peppers are an excellent topic but more for those who prefer diesel given their heaviness of digestion, using low temperature olive oil and cooking them in a casserole in the open is the best thing but having the foresight to turn them gently every ten minutes. . Using a pan thermometer is a good idea. You can also use it to check the engine oil temperature when you stop and with the engine off.
@greasy125 avatar
UTC

Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
 
Sergeant at Arms
@greasy125 avatar
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
UTC quote
[quote="Stromrider"Greasy, this "nonsense" is actually very important especially for newbies. I've also noticed you do read 'oil threads'! lol. Facepalm emoticon

I'm out of this now.
[/quote]

I actually read quite a bit more than one would suspect…
@greasy125 avatar
UTC

Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
 
Sergeant at Arms
@greasy125 avatar
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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UTC quote
Attila wrote:
Stuffed peppers are an excellent topic but more for those who prefer diesel given their heaviness of digestion, using low temperature olive oil and cooking them in a casserole in the open is the best thing but having the foresight to turn them gently every ten minutes. . Using a pan thermometer is a good idea. You can also use it to check the engine oil temperature when you stop and with the engine off.
Spicy Italian sausage or ground beef? Obviously there's rice, that's like, one of the only reasons stuffed peppers exist. Thoughts on cheese?
@motovista avatar
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
GT 2.4
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
@motovista avatar
GT 2.4
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UTC quote
Let's talk about grease. Here's my favorite. And I don't even care what's in the tubes.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
@greasy125 avatar
UTC

Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
Joined: UTC
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Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
 
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@greasy125 avatar
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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Posts: 14906
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
UTC quote
Motovista wrote:
Let's talk about grease. Here's my favorite. And I don't even care what's in the tubes.
Can I get something thicker?

Not talking about the grease.
@znomit avatar
UTC

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LX190 Friday afternoon special, Primavera, S50, too many pushbikes
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
@znomit avatar
LX190 Friday afternoon special, Primavera, S50, too many pushbikes
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Posts: 10222
Location: Hermit Kingdom
UTC quote
greasy125 wrote:
Can I get something thicker?

Not talking about the grease.
You asked for italian sausage.
@greasy125 avatar
UTC

Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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@greasy125 avatar
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
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Posts: 14906
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
UTC quote
znomit wrote:
You asked for italian sausage.
Nah, flat packed. I hate dealing with the casings.
@amateriat avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica; bit the dust 02-22-23)
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Location: Asbury Park, NJ
 
Ossessionato
@amateriat avatar
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody: 2015-2021, RIP), 2022 GTS SuperTech (Thelonica; bit the dust 02-22-23)
Joined: UTC
Posts: 3924
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
UTC quote
greasy125 wrote:
yes. hello. just chiming in here.

I don't actually read oil threads and just wanted to say that I'm making stuffed peppers instead of wasting my time with this nonsense.

that's all. that's my full input.

well, that and don't run mobile1 0-20 because nobody will have a good time.

enjoy your slippery discussion!
Merci, Greasy. You've pretty much nailed it for me, and not for the first time.

To be brief: I won't go broke using the recommended oil for my engine, at the recommended intervals. And that's pretty much al that counts, so long as everything works as expected.

Over and out.
@attila avatar
UTC

Veni, Vidi, Posti
In garage: Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956
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Posts: 8291
Location: Latina (Italy)
 
Veni, Vidi, Posti
@attila avatar
In garage: Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956
Joined: UTC
Posts: 8291
Location: Latina (Italy)
UTC quote
greasy125 wrote:
Spicy Italian sausage or ground beef? Obviously there's rice, that's like, one of the only reasons stuffed peppers exist. Thoughts on cheese?
Traditionally they are filled with beef, eggs (red only) and grated cheese (parmesan, the Italian parmigiano reggiano); in southern Italy they are modified using beef mixed with sausage and adding old grated (or toasted) bread and chopped olives (in Sicily they use capers).
The pepper is just a container, you can also use a large hollowed out eggplant which, due to its shape, will allow you to make a surface crust using a sauce composed of a mixture of crumbled cheese, tomato sauce, olive oil and basil ( some add oregano to tomato).
Put in the oven and wait.
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