There are many cultural specialties around the world from the coq au vin of France to the curries of India, but few types of cuisine are more popular – and adaptable! – than that of the country of Italy. With a style based on simplicity that is replete with the finest of cheese, pasta and sauce, here are a few things you’ll want to add to your pantry so you can serve up simple pleasure in your own kitchen.
All About the Oil
There are few food items more synonymous with Italy than olive oil, so make sure you have a bottle of the finest for making pasta or sprinkling over pizza. Whether you decide on extra-virgin or pure, you’ll want to forego the butter when it comes to having an Italian kitchen.
A Can of Tomatoes
It may go against the typical Italian way to reach for a canned tomato, but they can actually be more flavorful than the average tomato straight from the vine. Whether you’re making sauce for pizza or adding these to pasta, they’ll still provide better flavor than a tasteless tomato.
A Bit of Broth
Whether you decide to make this from scratch and freeze it or purchase it from the shelves of the grocery store, broth is a staple item in many traditional Italian foods. Risotto, one of Italy’s most famous foods, lives and dies through the addition of broth.
Dried or Canned Beans
From a side vegetable to salads and meat specialties, beans are a very popular item in many Italian dishes. The dried variety will often taste better and contain less salt than those that are canned, but if you don’t have the time, a can of beans will serve its purpose well.
A Jar of Tomato Sauce
Few things are more common in Italian cuisine than tomato sauce, but many people don’t have time to make this on their own. Instead of slaving over the pot, pick up a jar that is thick and low in sugar so you can instantly add it to spaghetti or pizza.
Fresh or Dried Pasta
There are few foods around the world that have the versatility of pasta, so keeping a number of different options in your pantry will provide recipe ideas for many months. From fusilli and linguine to spaghetti and penne, there’s no shortage of possibility with this staple food.
Put Some Parmesan On
In truth, there are many varieties of cheese that are specific to Italy, but few have had the influence that Parmesan has. While you can go for the cheaper variety of Grana Padano, if you’re really trying to impress, you’ll want to invest in Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is Italy’s most famous cheese at its best.
A pantry well-stocked with the foods of Italy may make it seem like you’ll be wedged in a culinary corner, but the global appeal of Italian food provides plenty of options you can make your own. Whether it’s pasta one night and risotto the next, it’s hard to exhaust the adaptability of Italian cuisine.