Giada De Laurentiis' Secret Ingredient To Give Tomato Sauce A Spicy Kick

chef and TV host Giada De Laurentiis
chef and TV host Giada De Laurentiis - Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images

Giada De Laurentiis is considered an expert when it comes to Italian cooking. She's also excellent at demystifying the cuisine to help home chefs recreate their favorite dishes. For instance, the skilled chef and television host recommends adding three simple ingredients to elevate pasta. She's also quite fond of an authentic Italian condiment capable of adding a bit of heat to her recipes. According to Instagram, De Laurentiis is a big fan of Calabrian chili paste, an intensely spicy product that the chef incorporates into pasta sauces to really make them sing.

De Laurentiis refers to the paste as a "secret ingredient" and suggests adding as much or as little of the paste to sauces based on your spice preferences. The condiment combines hot peppers sourced from the Calabria region of Italy, which are mixed with vinegar and oil. Calabrian hot peppers are a bit smokier than other types of hot peppers, which makes for a more complex and satisfying flavor.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How Spicy Is Calabrian Chili Paste?

bowl of chili paste
bowl of chili paste - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

When it comes to the spiciness of peppers, let the Scoville scale be your guide. Developed in 1912, this scale ascribes Scoville Heat Units (SHU) to foods to quantify their spiciness. On the low end of the scale is the poblano pepper, which ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 SHU. At the upper end of the scale is the habanero, which can be as high as 350,000 SHU.

As for Calabrian hot peppers, these typically range from 25,000 to 40,000 SHU. That means their spice level is decidedly mid-tier, making them a great option for people who like a bit of spice, but don't necessarily want to set their tongues ablaze. Also, the integration of vinegar and oil serves to temper the heat of the pepper a bit. Keep in mind that oil can cool down your mouth after eating spicy food, so it's a great addition to this chili paste. It's still worth following De Laurentiis' instructions when adding Calabrian chili paste to dishes. The chef encourages those new to the condiment to add a small amount to dishes to start and to only add more if their palates are up for it.

Other Ways To Use This Powerful Condiment

jar of Calabrian chili paste
jar of Calabrian chili paste - matteoscrive/X, formerly known as Twitter

According to De Laurentiis, Calabrian chili paste is a welcome addition to just about any pasta sauce. However, the chef also recommends using it to flavor other dishes. If you're looking for ways to upgrade a frozen pizza, consider using the paste as a topping. If you're a fan of drizzling a little hot sauce onto your eggs, Calabrian chili paste is a worthy substitution. Along with infusing a bit of heat into your breakfast, the paste will also impart smokiness to the dish with just the right touch of sweetness.

Calabrian chili paste is also great for making crowd-pleasing appetizers. It can be used to give intense flavor to shrimp when combined with olive oil and parmesan, along with seasonings like lemon zest, oregano, and salt. The paste can even be combined with honey to create a sweet and spicy glaze for a tomato-topped ricotta bruschetta dish. As illustrated by De Laurentiis' love for the product, Calabrian chili paste is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a range of recipes and preparations.

Read the original article on Daily Meal