When we think of Italian cuisine, pizza and spaghetti may cross our minds. However, have you ever been curious, is Italian food spicy?
Although Italy is not known best for spicy dishes, you can find many foods in Italian cooking. Bucatini All’ Amatriciana, Spaghetti All’ Assassina, Risotto with Funghi and Chile de Arbol, Rigatoni Al Ajillo with Broccoli Rabe, Penne All’ Arrabbiata, Spicy Salami Jalapeno and Olive Pizza, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, Picante Eggplant Sauce, Red Pesto Pasta, and Polenta with Ragu and Habanero are among these dishes.
Is Italian Food Spicy?
In southern parts of Italy, people love to have plates of hot and spicy pasta. Agio, olio, and pepperoncino are one of the most popular spicy pasta recipes.
The farther south we go, the spicier the Italian foods get. Since chiles are known to grow better in hot climates, they are more available in this region.
Calabria is an Italian region where people love chiles most. The peppers from this region, which are cayenne-type, are dried and crushed. They are usually used to make Calabrian-style marinara, a spicy dish!
Dried salamis and fresh pork sausages can be hot or sweet in Apulia. The hot variation is sprinkled with crushed red pepper. In most Calabrian and Apulian restaurants, sauteed lengthy, green chiles are served as a side dish.
Sicilian cuisine sometimes includes spicy hot foods, like Sicilian chicken. The chicken in this recipe is bone-in piece and roasted in olive oil with crushed red chiles and garlic cloves. When I visited a Sicilian restaurant, I ordered fried calamari served with tomato dipping sauce. This sauce comes in different spiciness levels, including very hot.
Top 10 Italian Dishes For Burning Mouth
If you cannot live without spiciness on your plate, here are the spicy Italian dishes you should try to turn your mouth on fire:
Bucatini All’ Amatriciana
Bucatini All’ Amatriciana is a spicy pasta that is every spicy lover’s dream. It is similar to pasta arrabbiata, often vegetarian, but with guanciale. This spicy Italian pasta dish is tossed in fiery tomato sauce with red pepper flakes and guanciale.
The origins of Bucatini All’ Amatriciana are somewhat controversial. Some sources attribute this spicy dish to Amatrice in Italy, while others claim it is a Roman dish. Some people also argue about the dish’s ingredients, like whether or not to include amounts of olive oil, onions, guanciale, and cheese.
Spaghetti All’ Assassina
Spaghetti All’ Assassin, also known as assassin spaghetti, is another popular spicy Italian dish. This crunchy spaghetti is fried in tomato sauce, hot red chili peppers, and garlic. Then, the dish is sprinkled with more red peppers and chili powder.
Since Spaghetti All’ Assassin is caramelized and covered in grease, it appears glossy. For people first-time to see this pasta, it does not look good. It has a flaw of sticky red tomato sauce with a gore-like appearance resembling clotted blood. Fried bread crumbs are sprinkled on top of it, making the sauce denser.
Risotto with Funghi and Chile de Arbol
Risotto with Funghi and Chile de Arbol is made from arborio rice and dehydrated mushrooms cooked in butter, olive oil, and vegetable or light chicken stock. Grated parmigiano Reggiano cheese is added. The spiciness of this Italian dish comes from leeks and chopped chiles.
Rigatoni Al Ajillo with Broccoli Rabe
Rigatoni Al Ajillo with Broccoli Rabe balances the chile, garlic’s spiciness, and broccoli rabe’s spicy flavor. This Italian dish contains rigatoni, broccoli rabe, olive oil, garlic, chiles guajillos, and pecorino or parmesan cheese.
Rigatoni is a tubular pasta cut with exterior ribs, allowing space for the sauce to adhere better. Al Ajillo is a chile guajillo and garlic combination lightly fried in olive oil. Raab or broccoli rabe is a winter vegetable that requires a longer cooking time than other veggies. Rabe species are known for their stems and leave pungent flavor.
Penne All’ Arrabbiata
Penne All’ Arrabbiata is prepared using simple ingredients. However, it offers a strong flavor. Every spicy food lover would appreciate its tomato sauce sauteed in garlic and chili peppers.
The word arrabbiata means were angry. This spicy dish is often prepared as a late-night snack during friends or family gatherings. The dish’s name seems derived from the fact that people’s face who eat it turns red because of the chili pepper. Some people add pecorino cheese, while others enjoy it as is.
Spicy Salami Jalapeno and Olive Pizza
Spicy Salami Jalapeno and Olive Pizza offers a perfect blend of spices with fresh basil and honey. The spiciness of this pizza comes from red onion, Jalapeno, spicy genoa salami, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
The pizza crust is topped with bagel seasoning. Before serving, it is drizzled with some honey and red pepper flakes on top. It offers a perfect balance between sweetness and spiciness.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio may be a simple Italian dish with oil, garlic, and chili pepper, but it is perfect for spicy lovers. This pasta is quick, easy to prepare, and ideal for lunch and dinner.
The success of this dish relies on the choice of ingredients and cooking technique, which involves frying chili peppers and garlic, ensuring they are not burnt. Some prefer using dried chili peppers, while others remove the seeds for less hotness.
Picante Eggplant Sauce
Piccante Eggplant Sauce is a popular vegetable-packed spicy dip. It combines ingredients such as eggplant, olive oil, button mushrooms, and tomato sauce. It makes ingredients like button mushrooms even more flavorful and delicious. It is ideal as a finisher for vegetables or sandwich spread.
For a spicy kick, garlic and Calabrian chili paste are added. Alternatively, chopped fresh Fresno chili is used. Chopped mushrooms and eggplant are made into a puree. Garlic gloves are also chopped until mashed and in puree form. The two purees are mixed with olive oil, chopped fresh garlic, chili paste, and tomato sauce and seasoned with salt. Then, it is served with bread.
Red Pesto Pasta
Buon appetite! Red Pesto Pasta is famous for its taste, similar to mash-up anchovy-garlic dip bagna cauda and spicy arrabbiata sauce. This spicy pasta is made from spaghetti, anchovy fillets, garlic cloves, olive oil, walnuts, and double-concentrated tomato paste. It also has grated parmesan, fresh lemon juice, and Fresno chilis for a perfect balance of saltiness, acid, and spiciness.
Polenta with Ragu and Habanero
Polenta with Ragu and Habanero is an all-time favorite corn mush combined with spicy tomato sauce. Chopped onion, carrots, and celery are sauteed in olive oil. Chopped tomatoes and minced garlic are added to the sauteed veggies. Tomatoes and vegetables are added with polenta, fresh habaneros, and fine herbs.
Italy has a rich history of preparing spicy dishes. Italians add spices to their meals to warm up while enjoying delicious food. They use several herbs and spices to make the best spicy Italian dishes, like garlic, pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, etc. You will find the spicy level your taste buds are looking for, from sauce and dip to pizza and pasta.