Pasta tastes better with premium spices. Whether it’s a few cranks of a pepper mill, or the perfect pinch of oregano, fresh spices enhance every shape of pasta. We asked our friend and pasta expert, Chef Lorenzo Boni, for some of his favorite spices for pasta recipes. If you have a favorite spice for cooking pasta, leave us a comment below. Explore our collection of Pasta Recipes and Italian Spices for more inspiration.
Tellicherry Black Pepper
"Black pepper is a must for all Roman pasta dishes, such as Carbonara, Amatriciana, Cacio e Pepe, and Gricia. I love Tellicherry pepper because it’s very aromatic and enhances everything else in the recipe. One quick tip would be to toast freshly ground black pepper in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes to have the aroma blooming."
"I love cloves in long stewed meat and red wine ragout. The aroma reminds me so much of Northern Italian food in the winter time. A little bit of cloves goes a long way. Two or three whole cloves will be just fine to season a four-pound pot of meat sauce."
Crushed Red Chiles
"Red pepper flakes from The Spice House are so reminiscent of fresh peppers, not your typical red pepper…we are talking from a different planet. I love making a famous Italian spaghetti dish called “Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino.” It is basically a simple dish made with sautéed garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and a great extra virgin olive oil. The dish is a staple of “spaghettata,” an Italian social event when families/friends gather around a table and share a big bowl of spaghetti."
Sweet Curry Powder
"I love pasta loaded with vegetables and sweet curry, which although it is not an Italian spice, it pairs extremely well with all kinds of vegetarian pasta dishes. The secret is to toast it gently over medium heat before adding vegetables to maximize its flavor. I normally change this recipe around by using vegetables in season for more affordable and sustainable results."
"I love the citrusy flavor of sumac and the beautiful red color to top pasta salads in the summer. Unexpected and delicious. I love sumac combined with avocado, which replaces Mayo in my pasta salads, to keep them lighter and healthier."