Nonna’s essentials – ingredients no kitchen should be without
Italy’s love of homecooking is no secret. Luckily, neither are the key ingredients you’ll find in kitchens all over the land. They’ve stayed the same for generations, with recipes handed down from grandparents to their children and then passed on to theirs.
So if you want a real Italian kitchen, forget worrying about the kind of oven or pans you use and focus on always having these culinary staples at hand.
Olive oil (extra virgin, naturally) – the beginning of so many meals in the pan, it also makes the perfect finishing touch to salads with a light drizzle, or as part of an appetizer.
Onions and Garlic – the base of many sauces, these two pack a rustic, flavorsome punch you’d instantly notice if it was missing.
Pasta – the obvious heart of hundreds of dishes, it doesn’t really matter how many of the 300 varieties you have on hand, you can always make pasta work, whether it’s thick and meaty, or thin and noodle-like.
Herbs and Spices – flavor saviors including basil, oregano, rosemary, chili and capers are a must, whether dried or fresh. But why keep them in the kitchen when you can grow so many of them in your back yard? (It goes without saying, salt and pepper belong here too.)
Tomatoes – fresh from the vine, or chopped and canned, tomatoes are handy for swift sauces and for adding color to salads.
Vinegar – not just for adding a kick to sauces and seafood, vinegar makes a great preservative for many vegetables, and balsamic vinegar heavenly in a dipping bowl.
Rice and Grains – for quick risottos or slowly soaked for soups, jars full of rice and grains like arancini and farro should greet every visitor to your kitchen.
Parmesan cheese – while considered a staple, it should be chosen carefully, the quality of your Parmesan has the power to make or break a meal.
Wine – as if you needed an excuse to have wine on ready supply, it makes a great ingredient for sauces and is credited with insp