Italian Spice Blend: Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

aglio-olioWhile traveling through the Mediterranean, I had an opportunity to stay in Rome for a couple of months. Excited to check out the neighborhood trattorias and shop at the local markets, I soon learned some cultural lessons. For one thing, Americans eat, while Italians savor. And the same rule applies to food shopping. They don’t have oversize Mega marts with mammoth freezer cases and endless aisles of packaged processed food like we do. Their idea of prepared food is the Gourmand section, or what we might call the deli. It’s the largest and busiest area of the market bursting with culinary delicacies of cured meats, fresh pasta, sauces, cheeses, pastries, and bread. And although produce selections tend to be limited, the Gourmand case is the heart of every store where the shopkeeper encourages you to sample, smell, and fondle the merchandise.

franchiProminently displayed in every specialty shop, market, and bodega are cellophane pouches of the ubiquitous staple known to every Italian cook as Aglio olio e peperoncino. Literally translated, it means garlic, oil, and peppers. It’s a headier version of Italian seasoning than we’re used to. But once you try it, you won’t imagine yourself using anything else. Since the ingredients are a well-guarded secret, I brought a pouch home and mixed and matched ingredients from my pantry until I came up with an approximation. Then, as Emeril Lagasse would say, “kicked it up a notch” and included the aromatic seasoning of Italian sausage to round out the essence. Perfect for sauces, pasta, pizza, mixing with olive oil for dipping bread, making zesty Italian salad dressing, or just about anything that, at the risk of assuming propriety, is “a taste of Italy” in a sachet.

Recipe Notes: What you will need: Mixing bowl, spice mill, and airtight container. Yields 1-cup. Difficulty level: Very easy


  • 1-Tbsp salt
  • 1 ½-tsp pepper
  • 1-Tbsp dry minced garlic
  • 1 -Tbsp dry minced onion
  • 2-tsp dried oregano
  • 1-tsp dried basil
  • ¼-cup dried parsley
  • 2-Tbsp dry vegetables
  • 2-Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1-Tbsp paprika
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 2-Tbsp dry ground porcini mushroom
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1-tsp anise seed
  • 1-tsp fennel seed


  1. In mixing bowl, combine the first ten-ingredients.
  2. In a spice mill grind porcini mushrooms to a crumble, not a powder.
  3. Measure 2-Tbsp and add to the spice mix.
  4. Store remaining mushroom powder for later use.
  5. In spice mill grind anise and fennel, add to spices.
  6. Mix ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

For the zesty salad dressing:

Combine ingredients in a cruet and shake well.

For Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2-tsp Aglio olio e peperoncino

For Garlic Bread:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2-tsp Aglio olio e pepperoncino
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 2-Tbsp Vegan Parmesan cheese


  1. Combine oil and spice brush on bread, sprinkle with vegan parmesan.
  2. Bake @350 till golden brown.

2 thoughts on “Italian Spice Blend: Aglio Olio e Peperoncino”

  1. Wow! Being raised in 100% Italian family, with a kitchen-grandma from Milan, my tastebuds were certainly spoiled and educated by her, the first 20-years of my life. The American version of Italian food is very questionable! The guidance through this blog helped me bring back my tastebuds. Only 1-month now, and I’m almost through my 1st batch of agilo peperoncino seasoning which I haven’t had since my last visit to Italy. I use it on everything, except ice cream. To be able to make this seasoning; and I am a non-cook, is testament to just how easy this recipe is. I’ve looked high-and-low for an authentic recipe seasoning to replicate, and there isn’t anything, anywhere.


    • said:

      So glad to hear it works for you. I, too, searched the internet for a recipe and found nothing. I was fortunate to still have a small amount of it that I brought back from my stay in Rome, and had to rely on taste-testing to approximate the recipe.


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