Give Your Pizza Sauce A Spicy Kick With Calabrian Chiles

If you want to wow pizza people with your sauce, you don't need to fret over expensive ingredients or long simmering recipes ... just make it spicy. There is no "best" type of pizza, but there is something special about the way heat transforms the saucy, cheesy comfort of a slice. While making a pizza spicy usually involves tossing ingredients like jalapeƱos or hot sauce on top of the pie, creating a spicy sauce elevates the whole thing even further, giving every bite an undercurrent of warmth that will radiate through the whole meal. It's good enough to make you wonder why spicy pizza isn't the default. And while you could go with a standard arrabiata-style recipe with red chili flakes, there's another spicy addition that can really give your sauce some punch: Calabrian chiles.

These spicy peppers are already the secret weapons in many pizza makers' arsenals, as their potent smoky spice adds not just heat, but tons of acidic flavor to all different kinds of pizza. They commonly come chopped in a jar with oil, or crushed and ground into a paste, making them easy to spoon out as a topping. You could start there and be perfectly happy, but incorporating Calabrian chiles into your pizza sauce will make for a truly unique experience, infusing the pepper taste and multiplying the complexity of the whole pie.

Calabrian chiles will make your pizza sauce something special

Incorporating Calabrian chiles into your pizza sauce recipe is an easy step that doesn't require any other alterations. The amount of chiles to use will vary based on how spicy you like it, but you can start at 2 chiles for a standard sauce recipe using one 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Dice the chiles, and then add them to the pan to cook for a few minutes alongside your onions and garlic. Follow the rest of your recipe as normal, and you'll get a bright and fruity pizza sauce with an irresistible spicy kick.

Your spicy Calabrian chile pizza sauce will work with almost any topping you like, but spicy pizzas have some combinations that are particularly tasty. Fatty, salty meats play off the acid and heat from spicy tomato sauce, and they help balance out the heat. Crumbled Italian sausage or soppressata are two choices that you see often with Calabrian chiles on top of pizza, and they'll be just as good cooked into your sauce. Earthy mushrooms make a nice, meaty, deeply savory pairing that will bring out the best in a spicy sauce. Roasted red peppers and caramelized onions both bring an extra dimension and create a sweet, spicy combo. And of course, you can just go with a classic cheese, because with spicy pizza sauce this flavorful, you don't really need anything else.