There’s something about spicy Italian food that really hits the spot. At Il Villaggio, we like to embrace both classic and modern spice pairings to find the best combinations. Here are some of our favorite pairing tips:
Crushed Red Pepper
The first stop to making any Italian dish spicy is freshly crushed red pepper. The pepper brings out all of the complexities of traditional Italian cooking, and while it’s delicious cooked into sauces, you can also add it on top of a finished dish. This comes in handy when cooking for people with different spice preferences. Crushed red pepper, made from crushed cherry peppers, pairs well with all Italian cheeses, most notably mozzarella.
You can also cook the crushed pepper into a chili oil to spoon over sandwiches and meats. Simply combine 2 cups of olive oil with 4 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste) in a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for about five minutes, let cool, and enjoy!
Italian Long Hots
Roasted Italian Long Hot Peppers are an incredible topping to sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and more. They vary in spiciness, but when roasted, add an irresistible bold flavor. Check out our Pig Roast Recipe Section for a tasty pulled pork sandwich that you can with these peppers.
Long hots, stems removed, pepper intact
Olive oil – enough to thoroughly coat each pepper
Freshly crushed garlic (about 2 cloves per 10 peppers)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Toss peppers in olive oil and crushed garlic and spread in an even, single layer on the pan. peppers.
3. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
4. Roast peppers for 35-40 minutes, or until softened with a slightly golden brown appearance
5. Allow to cool, then serve with pasta,
Gorgonzola Dip with Classic Buffalo Wings
Grilled wings are a summer staple, and a creamy Gorgonzola dip makes the perfect complement to a spicy buffalo sauce.
1 cup crumbled Il Villaggio Gorgonzola cheese
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons of half-and-half
A pinch of fresh pepper
1/3 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Reserve a small amount of the Gorgonzola cheese for garnish. In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, half-and-half and pepper. Blend until ingredients are combined. Reserve a small amount of walnuts for garnish. Stir the walnuts into the blended cheese mixture – adjust to taste. Place in a small container and let chill until you’re ready to use.
Cracked Black Pepper
For those who want only a mild spice at the back of their throats, you can’t go wrong with freshly cracked black pepper. The classic flavor is there, but without the mouth-burning heat of other spices. Black Pepper pairs well with all Il Villaggio Cheeses, and can help enhance the flavors.