Give Your Alfredo Pasta The Kick It Deserves With This Spicy Chili Paste

Bowl of Alfredo pasta
Bowl of Alfredo pasta - Ws Studio/Getty Images

The first rendition of fettuccine Alfredo, cooked up in the early 1900s, was just fettuccine tossed in butter and parmesan, creating a rich, cheesy sauce. When the dish made it's way to America, the addition of heavy cream and garlic became popular, turning it into a creamy and thick white sauce. Alfredo sauce is a great base sauce for experimenting with your pasta dish; tossing in roasted broccoli is delicious, adding garlic-sautéed chicken or shrimp works well, as does cutting the richness with something spicy.

Giada de Laurentiis is a big fan of Calabrian chili paste for giving tomato sauce a kick. This fiery Italian condiment is perfect for adding a new element to Alfredo sauce, too. Calabrian chili paste is made of crushed Calabrian chili peppers, oil, salt, and vinegar. Sometimes, it also contains garlic or herbs, such as basil. The sauce has a light tang and a smoky, salty flavor. As for how much spice it will add to your Alfredo pasta, Calabrian chili peppers are ranked between 25 and 40,000 Scoville heat units (for context, jalapeños rank between 3 and 5,000). So, it's important to incorporate the chili paste a little bit at a time.

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What To Bear In Mind When Using Calabrian Chili Paste In Alfredo Sauce

Bowl of chili paste
Bowl of chili paste - Bhofack2/Getty Images

You don't need much Calabrian chili paste to add heat to your Alfredo sauce. Just a teaspoon of paste can bring on the heat and add those fruity and smoky notes without becoming overpowering. Once you've added it to your creamy Alfredo sauce recipe, you'll notice the spiciness is balanced by the very rich ingredients in the sauce. So, while you'll certainly get a kick, it won't be as intense as if you'd eaten a spoonful right from the jar.

Another thing to bear in mind about using Calabrian chili paste as a way to upgrade ​Alfredo sauce is that it contains salt. While this helps enhance the flavors of the cheese, cream, and peppers in your sauce, it can also cause your sauce to become overly salty if you're not careful. If you're making Alfredo sauce from scratch, you may need to reduce the amount of salt you use. Some cooks even choose to leave it out entirely. You can always add salt at the end of cooking if you find it needs a bit more.

Finally, there's no reason why you can't try adding Calabrian chili paste to a store-bought Alfredo sauce, too. In fact, there are even some brands out there that already have the fiery chilis mixed in, labeled as "spicy Alfredo" sauce, proving that this combination really works.

Other Inclusions To Add To A Calabrian Chili Paste Alfredo Sauce

Jar of chili paste
Jar of chili paste - D. Patalano/Shutterstock

In addition to using Calabrian chili paste to give your Alfredo pasta a kick, adding certain herbs and spices can further upgrade the sauce. Basil, for instance, brings peppery, minty notes, while oregano can introduce more bitterness to the sauce. Similar to béchamel, another rich, creamy white sauce, a dash of nutmeg will enhance the savory warmth of the flavors. Or, play up the tanginess of the paste by adding a splash of white wine or lemon juice during the cooking process. The acidity helps add complexity to the dish and brightens up the rich ingredients.

Lastly, if you find you've overshot and made the sauce too spicy, try adding some honey, which can help to neutralize the heat of the pepper paste. At the same time, it can ramp up some of the sweet, fruity notes in the peppers. Whether you mix in these additional ingredients, or just go with a spoonful of Calabrian chili paste, this Italian condiment is the perfect way to give your Alfredo a flavorful, fiery kick.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal