The Pantry Staple That Will Give Your Pasta Sauce A Slight Kick

Pasta may be an Italian dish, but people in the United States love and appreciate it too. In fact, according to Food Business News, the United States is the largest market for this food staple with Americans eating 2.7 million tons of pasta each year. What's not to love? Pasta is so versatile in use and shape. We can think of at least 44 types of pasta and when you should be using them, and we are pretty certain there are quite a few more to add to our list because Food Network reveals there are over 600 different types of pasta out there to try.

We love simple pasta dishes that use just a little marinara or pesto sauce for a quick dinner on a weeknight. But, you can really change a pasta recipe into a gourmet meal simply by adding vegetables to create a pasta primavera, mixing up a cheese sauce to make a simple, homemade mac and cheese, or adding some protein for a heartier dish. But if you really want to up the flavor of your pasta dish and give it a little boost with a kick, you may be surprised to learn there is an ingredient you can probably find in your spice cabinet that will do just that.

Pass the red pepper please

According to the Pioneer Woman's website, if you want to amp up the flavor of your pasta and its accompanying sauce, you may want to try reaching for your crushed red pepper flakes. Bon Appétit explains that crushed red pepper flakes are made using a mash-up of dried peppers which include jalapeño, bell, Fresno, Anaheim, and cayenne peppers. The site calls this ingredient "one-dimensional" but not in a negative way. Bon Appétit notes that these pepper flakes taste amazing when added to a penne alla vodka and chicken parm, adding just enough of a fiery kick to get your taste buds talking, and that's really their sole purpose.

The Pioneer Woman's website goes on to explain that the beauty of adding crushed red pepper to your favorite pasta dish centers around the fact you are in control of how much or how little you want to sprinkle on your meal. If you like your nose and eyes to run while you break out into a warm sweat, then you can be as generous with this spicy ingredient as you would like. However, if you only like a little bit of a punch, you are also able to ensure just a pinch of the red crushed pepper makes it onto your plate.