Tuscan Heat is an Italian seasoning mix available across America.
It’s made from a variety of herbs and spices including oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, fennel seed, marjoram, black peppercorns, red peppers flakes, dried chilies, and fenugreek seeds.
The spices in Tuscan Heat are all natural, but they’re also combined in different ratios depending on which version of Tuscan Heat you buy.
Some include more than 30 ingredients, while others have fewer, making each one slightly unique.
The original version of Tuscan Heat was created in Florence, Italy in 1869 as part of a cookbook called “La Cucina del Piatto di Firenze” (Florence Cuisine) written by a woman named Signora Maria Vianello.
Since then, there has been a number of variations of Tuscan Heat produced around the world, including ones tailored specifically for American tastes.
But whatever version you choose, this ingredient will add bold flavors to any dish! We’ll show you how to get started with Tuscan Heat and what you should know before buying it online or in stores.
What Is The Difference Between Tuscan Heat And Other Spice Blends?
Tuscan Heat is not only the name of the spice itself.
There are many versions of Tuscan Heat sold today, and each one has slight differences.
For example, some varieties contain ground cloves instead of whole cloves, whereas others may offer extra options like crushed or diced fresh tomatoes.
Also, some recipes call for less salt than others.
In general, though, most Tuscans don’t add sugar or anything else besides the basic mixture of dried herbs and spices.
In addition, Tuscan Heat doesn’t need to be used straight out of the bottle.
You can combine the herbs and spices into a paste first and then apply them to food when ready to eat.
This way, you avoid the strong smell of freshly applied Tuscan Heat, although you could still end up smelling like a spicy chef if you leave it on too long.
How Do You Use Tuscan Heat In Cooking?
We love using Tuscan Heat for everything from appetizers to desserts.
Here are a few ideas:
Stuffed Baked Potatoes — Add a dollop of sour cream mixed with a tablespoon of Tuscan Heat onto baked potatoes for added flavor.
Then top with shredded cheese and bake until golden brown.
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Spears — Wrap strips of bacon around asparagus spears and grill them over medium heat until cooked through.
Season with olive oil and sprinkle with Tuscan Heat.
Creamed Spinach Casserole – Use Tuscan Heat along with melted butter to create a creamy sauce for spinach casseroles.
Chicken Marsala – Cook chicken breasts in a large skillet coated with flour seasoned with Tuscan Heat.
Remove the chicken once done and set aside.
Reduce the pan juices by half in a separate pot.
Return the chicken back to the pan with the reduced gravy and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Top off with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Green Beans Almondine — Roast green beans in a hot oven until tender with olive oil, salt, and Tuscan Heat.
Mix together with almonds and parsley for a great side salad.
Pizza Margherita — Make pizza dough and spread with tomato sauce.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place slices of salami on top.
Bake until lightly browned.
Drizzle with Tuscan Heat and top with additional cheese and sliced olives.
Spaghetti Carbonara — Boil spaghetti noodles with water and season with kosher salt.
Drain and toss with eggs, heavy cream, milk, and chopped garlic.
Stir in Tuscan Heat and freshly cracked pepper.
Chocolate Chip Cookies — Combine 1 cup white chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup packed dark brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl and stir well.
Press cookie dough balls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and press down gently.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting with white icing.
What Dishes Are Best Enhanced By Tuscan Heat?
You can easily find Tuscan Heat in grocery stores nationwide, but we recommend ordering online to ensure freshness and quality.
Many websites carry both organic and nonorganic versions of Tuscan Heat.
Organic Tuscan Heat contains no pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or hormones, and is usually cheaper than conventional brands.
If you’d rather go without the organics, check local farmers’ markets for Tuscan Heat or try shopping online at sites like Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Whole Foods Market, and Kroger.com.
If you want to try Tuscan Heat in a pinch, consider preparing dishes yourself.
When purchasing Tuscan Heat, always read the label closely because some brands contain additives like MSG, soy lecithin, and monosodium glutamate, which aren’t necessarily bad things, but can be avoided whenever possible.
However, these types of mixes tend to lack the full spectrum of essential oils found in Tuscan Heat, so they won’t provide nearly the same level of flavor.
If you decide to experiment with Tuscan Heat at home, keep in mind that homemade versions might taste a bit different than their store-bought counterparts.
That said, Tuscan Heat is easy enough to make at home, and we’ve included a tutorial below.
What Is The History Of Tuscan Heat?
Signora Maria Vianello originally developed her Tuscan Heat recipe after she became frustrated with the bland nature of Italian cuisine in Florence due to the lack of access to good ingredients.
Her solution was to bring ingredients from her native country, where she had grown up, and incorporate those into her Florence Cuisine cookbook.
She later published another book titled “Il Vecchio Pizzicato,” which contained several versions of Tuscan Heat and similar spice blends.
Today, Tuscan Heat is often considered a staple of traditional Italian cooking.
Its popularity grew even further during World War II when Americans were unable to obtain supplies from Europe, resulting in a shortage of imported spices and seasonings.
Thankfully, Tuscan Spice Company stepped up to help feed the troops with a special blend of Tuscan Heat and other herbs and spices.
Now, anyone who enjoys authentic Italian cuisine can enjoy Tuscan Heat year round, thanks to these tasty blends.
How Did Tuscan Heat Come To Be?
Tuscan Heat was originally formulated in Florence, Italy sometime in the late 1800s.
Over time, however, it lost much of its original flavor profile.
Today, most Tuscan Heat products sold in the U.S.
are based on Vianello’s original formula, which includes whole and ground pepper, fennel, coriander, celery seed, nutmeg, mace, mustard powder, paprika, ginger root, bay leaves, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, clove buds, safflower, fenugreek, angelica, and caraway.
These ingredients are blended together in various quantities to produce varying levels of spiciness.
What Are The Ingredients In Tuscan Heat?
While Tuscan Heat does vary slightly among companies, here’s a list of common ingredients found in almost every brand:
Whole and ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Other ingredients occasionally used in Tuscan Heat blends include sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and cocoa powder.
Most of these ingredients are optional, so feel free to omit them if desired.
What Is The Ideal Balance Of Ingredients In Tuscan Heat?
There isn’t really a specific ratio of ingredients that works best for Tuscan Heat.
Instead, it depends largely upon personal preference and what type of dish you plan on serving.
To achieve a mild or moderate flavor, simply add less of the stronger spices like red pepper flakes, paprika, or garlic powder.
Similarly, you can increase the amounts of weaker spices like lemon juice, orange peel, or wine vinegar to enhance the overall flavor.
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Jar
- 4 teaspoons Basil
- 2 teaspoons Rosemary
- 2 teaspoons Oregano
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Fennel
- In a bowl, combine all the spices.
- If you want them to be finer, put them in a spice grinder. An alternative is a coffee grinder.
- Maintain in a Mason jar with a tight lid.