Italian Herbs & Spices

Italian Herbs & Spices

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Italian Herbs & Cooking Spices

Italian cuisine is known for its simplicity in creating incredible flavor with just a few ingredients. Italian cooks typically reach for whatever is fresh and local. When you consider how different the regions of this country are, it makes sense that the local fare varies so drastically city-to-city.

There are certainly fewer Italian herbs and spices to speak of than there are, say, Indian spices. But that doesn’t mean spices don’t play an important role here. You just have to look a little harder to discover the most common Italian spices.

Let’s start in Rome, where pastas and their many sauces reign supreme. Cacio e pepe is a great example of the simplicity of Italian food — a classic pasta dish made with butter, cheese, and freshly cracked black peppercorns. In cacio e pepe, the black pepper is the heart of the dish. Carbonara also relies heavily on the bite of black pepper. To make Bucatini all’Amatriciana, you’ll definitely need crushed red pepper flakes. Coda alla Vaccinara is a classic Roman stew made with Oxtail, tomato, celery, and these Italian herbs and spices: marjoram, cloves, and cinnamon.

In centrally located Bologna, the food specialties are countless. But this city is probably best known for Bolognese, a meat sauce made using the common medley of carrots, onion, and celery (battuto in Italian) along with tomatoes, butter, milk, and nutmeg. Bologna is also known as the birthplace of tortellini.

In the inland North you have Milan, where there’s more of a focus on meats, rice dishes, cheeses, and hearty casseroles. Risotta alla milanese, the signature dish of Milan, is a creamy risotto made with saffron and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And then there’s Italian dessert! Cavalluci are traditional Tuscan Christmas cookies that use a mix of cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and star anise. Nociata comes from the Lazio region of Italy — a chewy candy dessert made with nuts, honey, and cinnamon.

Italian herbs are most often used fresh but sometimes it’s much easier to get that signature Italian flavor with a blend of dried herbs. Our Italian Seasoning is a lovely blend of rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, and marjoram. Keep an eye on this collection as we continue adding new more Italian herbs and spices!