Italian cooking is firmly linked to distinctive regional traditions, nevertheless there are some “must have” ingredients that should never be missing in any Italian cupboard.
Parmesan cheese in paramount. it’s the most famous Italian cheese. It’s an hard cheese that comes from Parma and it’s never missing in an Italian refrigerator. We use it every day for many different purposes. It is expensive but it worth every penny. If you are looking for a cheaper version, try the Grana Padano.
Extra virgin olive oil. In Italy we avoid the use of butter, and we definitely prefer to use extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has the richest flavor, as it is made from the first cold pressing of ripe fruit. It has a low acid content, and a bright color that can turn from the yellow to the green. My father produces extra virgin olive oil… so we use his one, abundantly, tip the bottle sounds “Blub Blub Blub”: he’ll never be praised enough for that!
Inevitable, essential, always-in-the-copboard ingredient it’s important to many dishes, from the simplest spaghetti recipe to the majority of pasta condiments, lasagne etc. Canned diced tomatos, or plain bottled tomato sauce is always inside every kitchen: despite of what you shout think about it, the use of tomato paste it’s very uncommon in Italy, but is still common to bottle tomato at home (even if the kitchen resembles to the Kill Bill set after that).
Despite the massive use of Italian Seasoning mix that you do abroad, we do not use any seasoning mix in Italy. At the opposite, we use sea salt everyday.
Fresh herbs: basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano should never be missing in any Italian cupboard. As fresh herbs are considerably better than dried ones, many people has small plants on their balcony! Basil and parsley are perhaps the most used ones.
They can help you in many cases, giving an extra taste to your recipes.
Nuts, pinecones nuts, hazel nuts, almonds etc: are used dayly in many salty or sweet recipe.
Despite of it’s regional roots, everywhere in Italy you can eat a good pasta dish or a good risotto, made with Carnaroli or Arborio rice.
Espresso coffe is distinctive of our culinary tradion. Few can wake up in the morning with no coffe indeed… I need at least two.
We daily buy fresly baked bread. There are many kinds of Italian Breads, that can differ in shape and ingredients. Personally I prefer the so called Ciabatta, which is one of the most popular ones. In any case, bread is an ingredient to many filling, soups etc..