Let’s face it. We love Italian food. We love the pizza, the pasta and even their tiramisu but sometimes when we read their menu; it’s a little hard to understand what it says.
So to help you out, when you see the word Piccante on the menu in an Italian restaurant it can mean a few things. It can say that it is spicy, or that it is using a sharp cheese or it can also mean that it uses its pepperoncino picante.
In other words, a spicy Italian sausage that will make you sweat in happiness ( because we Malaysians love our chilli and spice).
The History of Piccante in Italian food
When we think of Italian food, we rarely think about them as being spicy. Instead, we think about olive oil, fresh tomatoes and their abundance of antipasto like Pepperoni and Prosciutto.
Some of you might even think that the spiciness in Italian food in Malaysia is a local influence and an attempt to cater to the local’s taste buds.
While that might be true, Italians have incorporated Piccante (spicy) for much longer than you think. Piccante dishes are more common amongst the Central Italian cuisine, specifically in Abruzzo and Molise cuisine.
In Abruzzo, the locals refer to chilli peppers as the little devils, and they are often used as a spice rub for their lamb dishes or as an addition to their pasta and mushroom dishes. The usage of peppers can also be seen in the cuisine of people in the Basilicata region of Italy.
In Basilicata, peperoncini piccante is often used as pizza toppings or as part of their pasta dish. One of the most notable piccante dishes, however, come from the Calabria region. Historically, Calabria used to be under the French ruling and was influenced by the Spanish, which then translates into their spicy dishes.
Italians who are into spicy food would try the Calabrese pizza that consists of hot peppers, hot capicola, hot soppressata, Mozzarella and tomato sauce.
The Benefit of Piccante (spicy) Food
Contrary to what some people might think, eating spicy food is not a form of torture. Behind the sweating and the burning tongue, spicy food eaten in moderation has a lot of benefits to offer.
Eating hot peppers in moderation can aid your digestive tract, and it can also reduce cancer risks. If you consume spicy food while you have the common flu, it can help you fight fungal infections too.
So yes, you might have a runny nose, but on the bright side your nose won’t be blocked for long and you will not have to suffer for a week. Believe it or not, spicy food can also help you with your cramping.
However, you should also be aware not to consume too much of spicy food as it can cause problems such as a blocked appendix which may land you in the hospital or even with a leaky gut and ulcer which can potentially result in hospitalisation and also operation.
Where to Get a Piccante Italian dish in Malaysia
If you’re craving for something Italian and spicy at the same time, head on over to La Risata in Medan Damansara and try their Pesce Alla Melanzane Piccante which is their fish with spicy eggplant. Visit foodpanda to learn more about western dishes around you.