An Italian dish is a staple in most households. Pasta, pizza, sweet treats. I always have Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and pasta on hand. I thought I would share my five essentials of an Italian pantry. Now, there are a lot of ingredients and products one can have to perfect the Italian pantry. So, please share any and all of your five essential Italian ingredients.
extra virgin olive oil
I believe this is the most essential ingredient in Italian cuisine. You can use olive oil as a base, simple sauce as well as an essential cooking oil. To accumulate the best and highest quality flavor, make sure to use extra virgin olive oil. It has the most flavor.
Sweet, ripe tomatoes are what completes many Italian dishes. If you cannot get ripe, fresh tomatoes, use a quality canned tomato. Choose whole, peeled rather than crushed or chopped. I like to stock up on San Marzano imported tomatoes whenever I come across them.
herbs & seasoning
A general rule of thumb, use fresh herbs for everyday cooking. But do have dried oregano [more flavorful than fresh oregano], rosemary, thyme and sage. The latter two are great for stews and poultry dishes. I also like to have whole black peppercorn, sea salt and red pepper flakes on hand. Crush together in a mortar and pestle right before use.
Cheeses are also very important. It adds a density to most of Italian dishes. Most popular are Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino romano, mozzarella, ricotta and provolone.
dried porcini mushrooms
This ingredients is really based on your own taste. I tend to like to add earthy flavors to most of my dishes and what better way than to add mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms add a significant amount of flavor to risotto, pasta sauce [specifically white] and stews. A little can go a long way, so be careful with how much you use. They are also fantastic to make a mushroom broth [for vegetarian soups]. Just boil them in water with thyme, garlic and a shallot.
Some c&é Italian favorites