It’s not all that often that you come across a spicy pasta sauce. You’ll see plenty of arribiata sauces at a grocery store, but I rarely come across one that I could really describe as angry, and is typically more of just roasted red peppers than real chili peppers. With that in mind I was fairly delighted to find Delallo Hot Pepper Garlic Pasta Sauce that seemed specifically geared at a chilihead, with a cluster of chili peppers prominently displayed on the front label. They skip all the steps of spicing up a standard issue pasta sauce and put this out there as either a spicy sauce on its own or something to add to your boring pasta sauce, as an ingredient, in order to add the heat.
In a land of preservative filled pasta sauces, it was rather nice to find this one using plain, old techniques, like canning in oil. Here’s the short list of what we’ve got here: Garlic, Red Hot Chili Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Parsley.
The first thing you’ll notice about this product is that it’s fairly chunky, but based in a smooth oil base, almost sort of like an Italian version of a salsa. There is plenty of white and red chunks throughout, and the occasional green leafy bit of parsley, and not the dry type, these are fully fresh leaves that are preserved in the oil. Most of the ingredients stand out on their own, there is the lightly bitter aroma from the olive oil, there is plenty of chili aromas from what I’ll presume are calabrian peppers, though it’s not noted on the label or their website, and last, but definitely not least, is the garlic, which stands out as an aroma, but seems to be well blended between the garlic and peppers.
The product on it’s own tastes almost completely of chili peppers with garlic in the background, without any flavor from the parsley and a touch of the olive oil being noticeable, and brings a lot of big flavor without any of the single parts stepping to harshly on the other. The chilies are full peppers, with seeds, skins and all. The instructions for this are to sautee it with equal parts of plain extra virgin olive oil and this product, and then toss in pasta, so I added 4 Tbsp. of each to 12 ounces of linguine and tossed it up to see how it was on pasta. As a basic pasta sauce it’s decent, lightly spicy, lightly garlicy, and not bad for a quick bite or a side, but I have a feeling that to get the effect I want, I would need to do a 1:1 ratio of this to pasta, using the entire jar (minus the oil in it) for the 12 ounces of pasta. It does however have the flavor needed to perk up a variety of dishes, such as tossing this in with your bruschetta mix. The oil on it’s own has a nice fresh chili and garlic flavor to it, and so once you use up the chunkier parts, the oil could be used to cook with or as a sub for regular olive oil to add some spice and flavor.
Used as directed, as a pasta sauce, it gets a Mild rating for heat and a Nice rating for flavor. My only recommendation with this is that the skins of the larger chili chunks can be a bit displeasing to eat, so if you get a chance to remove the skins from the chilies during the sautee part of making it, then it would be more palatable. Tossing in a touch of your favorite Italian herb mix and a few strips of roasted peppers and tomatoes really rounds this out for a quick pasta mix.