So you’ve decided you’re going to start doing some more Italian cooking. You’ve found a great database of Italian recipes and you’re excited about wading into the world of pasta, pesto and parmagiana.
It would be helpful to have on hand some staple ingredients that are found in a lot of Italian cooking. That way, you’ll be able to get your fix of Italian food any day, without extensive grocery shopping. Let’s look at some of them!
Garlic: It may sound like a cliché, but this humble bulb has a place in just about all Italian cooking. Keep it in a cool, dry place such as a root cellar or pantry. When buying garlic, look for bulbs with no dark discoloration on the bottom. This may indicate age or molding.
Tomato sauce: Don’t go expensive here. The house brand at your local grocer and the national brands will be impossible to tell apart if you put them in a bowl. Avoid the “preseasoned” blends, as you’ll be adding your own herbs and spices to your recipe.
Pasta: Don’t buy a huge amount of any one specific noodle. Rather, keep a small amount of the most common types, such as spaghetti, linguine, elbow macaroni, small and large shells and wide egg noodles. For storage, it helps if you can keep long noodles in a long container. Most plastic ware makers have a “pasta keeper” of some sort available.
Parmesan cheese: While it may not always be an ingredient, freshly ground Parmesan is almost always a welcome addition on top of a pasta dish. Kraft has a new “fresh shreds” product with a block of cheese in a container with its own grater. It works very well, and the price is not exorbitant.
Olive oil: One mistake many Italian-food rookies make is using expensive extra-virgin olive oil for things like pan-frying. Use standard olive oil, which will be yellow in color and as much as 50 percent cheaper, for these purposes. You’ll still get all the health benefits!
Keep your pantry properly stocked, and you’ll be prepared to cook any Italian recipes you wish!