All of us love going for an outdoor dining Hells Kitchen experience, but that is not a feasible option every month. So in lieu of that, you can have some fun and stock up on these staples to make the ultimate Italian feast right at home.
These ingredients will work for simple as well as slightly complicated recipes. What makes so many people gravitate towards Italian is that they are simple as well as really delicious.
Having these staples is also a good way to begin cooking at home, which is also something that we should try and inculcate in our daily lives.
So, here is a list of the staples that you need to get at your next grocery run.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This should not come as a surprise to anyone at all. Olive oil is, as everyone knows, the king of all condiments. It is one of the easily digested vegetable fats, which makes it a suitable option for people of all ages. The reason you should go for extra virgin as that it is the highest quality and also the most natural. This is also the only cooking oil in the market that is created without the use of chemical or industrial refining.
Apart from onion and garlic, you will be hard-pressed to find an ingredient that features this frequently in the cuisine. With a nice fruity, bitter and pungent taste, this condiment adds great depth to any dish that you are making.
There are a variety of uses that balsamic vinegar has in an Italian kitchen. You will usually see people just talking about how it tastes great on salads, but that is really underselling this condiment. Ensure that you buy the traditional balsamic vinegar, the one that is made in Modena and Reggio Emilia. It will carry a D.O.P (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) stamp, which will make it easier for you to get it from the market.
Once you get that you can use it on Parmigiano Reggiano, risotto, scaloppini, and even strawberries and gelato on certain occasions.
If there is one thing that is synonymous with Italy, it is pasta. The staple food of Italy is much loved throughout the world. You can really not have an Italian pantry unless you have spaghetti and one other (penne, fusilli, tortiglioni) there. If you are looking for authenticity then you need to pick up durum wheat pasta. When you mill it properly durum wheat pasta produces high-quality semolina. This is the kind of pasta that maintains its shape while cooking and you get a delicious flavor along with an al dente texture.
Passata di Pomodoro
Tomato sauce, that’s what this sauce is. Another staple of Italian cuisine, it is hard to have a pantry list that does not feature this sauce. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Making them great for growth, vitality, and organic balance. If one makes tomatoes in the correct manner, then they are also easy to digest.
This sauce is pretty full-bodied and goes well with a large number of pasta dishes. The trick is to find one that is prepared in the most simple manner. There should be no condiments in the sauce barring a pinch of salt and you will get the perfect sauce. Check this recipe out if you want to try and make your own.
Fresh herbs and spices are the lifeline of any good Italian pantry. The most common ones include oregano, sage, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, and hot pepper. You will hardly ever see an Italian recipe without at least one or more of these herbs and spices.
Again, this really should not come as a surprise. Coffee is an important part of most people’s routine. That first sip of a rich, aromatic sip of espresso often acts as a wake-up moment for the body, and then you have some more throughout the day.
You will always see an Italian pantry stocked with coffee blend packets. Even though coffee does natively belong to Italy, it has evolved to become an integral part of the cuisine.
Every Italian knows and loves this cheese. This soft, fresh, cow’s milk cheese is a part of everything from pizza to paninis. The best ones are found in brine in the deli section of your grocery store. The flavor and texture of this cheese are best enjoyed in uncooked appetizers.
If you are looking for something that is super melty then you should grab a pack of the low-moisture variant that is sold shredded and in blocks.
I’m personally not a big fan of these but for people who acquired the taste for these fishes, they can act as great flavor balls. They are surprisingly complex, salty, and rich in taste. Available in almost every form- canned, in oil, or as a paste. All of them make a great addition to any hot sauce. The most convenient form is the paste but you can extract the most flavor from the canned and jarred version.
There is a trick in place to make this which you will reach only after testing and trying out a number of different variations. There is a quick-cooking one, an instant one as well as the pre-cooked version. Depending on how you like eating it, this coarsely ground cornmeal makes for a great addition to the pantry.
These are the basic staples that you should add to your pantry, You can always build as you become more confident in your cooking skills. The rest of the time you can make your way to Crispin’s for an authentic Italian meal.