The Truth About The Pasta Queen's Devil's Kiss Pasta

There are a lot of food vloggers out there these days. From trained professionals like Alison Roman and Ina Garten to teenagers boiling their first pot of pasta, it seems like nearly everyone has fled to Instagram or TikTok to test out and promote their own recipes. And if there's one thing we've learned from watching hundreds of amateur and professional chefs and home cooks take to the internet, it's that when it comes to pasta, you should listen to the Italians. More specifically, you should listen to The Pasta Queen.

TikTok and Instagram sensation Nadia Caterina Munno, known to followers as The Pasta Queen, is a Florida-based Italian home cook (she's originally from Rome), who puts her own romantic spin on classic Italian pasta dishes. Take her Madame Spice Broccoli — a simple rigatoni recipe made with broccoli sautéed in olive oil with garlic and chili peppers — for instance. Easy enough, right? 

But it's the way The Pasta Queen cooks her food that makes it special. As she walks viewers through her recipe, her hair blows seductively in the wind. The ingredients don't just cook together, they "sunbathe in a delicious space of flavors." Pasta water isn't just starchy water, it's "the tears of the gods." The pasta isn't coated in sauce, it's "absorbing the essence of the sauce within." And as a sign-off to nearly every video, The Pasta Queen notes that the food she's made is "just gorgeous," just like her viewers.

Introducing the devil's kiss

And The Pasta Queen isn't wrong. Her pasta recipes are gorgeous. They're saucy, carefully plated, and authentically Italian. But the question remains: How do they taste? A recipe reviewer for The Kitchn recently tried one of The Pasta Queen's recipes for herself, and her review is officially in.

The recipe in question is "devil's kiss pasta" — the Pasta Queen's spicy, meaty take on penne alla vodka, more or less. You start by sautéing pancetta, onions, and garlic in olive oil. Add a dollop of tomato paste and "smoke" the mixture in vodka. Next, add some fire-roasted tomatoes (the kind that come in a can should be fine) and Calabrian chili paste. According to The Pasta Queen, you should use this Italian chili paste "without mercy." Then, add a touch of cream and salt, some al dente rigatoni or penne, pecorino cheese, and "the tears of the gods." Gently mix the pasta and sauce together — or, in The Pasta Queen's words, "massage like a temptress." And voila! Your creamy, spicy, gorgeous meal is complete.

Does a gorgeous recipe deserve a gorgeous review?

According to The Pasta Queen, this dish is like "being kissed by the devil." She says that, as legend has it, Lucifer and Lilith (two of the Bible's most demonic figures) declared their love to each other over this pasta. Needless to say, you should expect it to taste as hot and spicy as Hades itself. But Kitchn's reviewer had a bit more to say about it.

Not only is the dish gorgeous, but apparently it's better and more powerful than your traditional penne alla vodka. The pancetta adds a salty, meaty layer to the traditional recipe, and the Calabrian chili paste gives the whole thing an authentic Italian kick. All in all, it seems like this recipe could and should replace whatever vodka sauce recipe you've been using (or if you've been using the jarred stuff, God forbid). But, like all things too good to be true, it comes with a twist.

Make this dish like a true Italian

Any real Italian will know that true Italian dishes rarely come with a written recipe. In the world's most romantic culture, cooking, like love, is intuitive. It's all about the feeling you have while you're doing it. So it should make sense that a dish called "devil's kiss" brought to you by a Roman cook doesn't come with handwritten instructions. When you make "devil's kiss pasta," use your own intuition. How much onion should you add? That's up to you. How much is "a drizzle" of cream, you ask? Drizzle for as long or as little as you'd like. What does it mean to add Calabrian chili paste "without mercy"? Feel it out for yourself. Cooking Italian food is just as much about the experience in the kitchen as it is about the first bite, so take it slow and enjoy yourself — and always remember to stay gorgeous.