The good news is, that you do not have to be a master chef to prepare Italian food like a pro - you just need the right ingredients.
Below we put together some of the most needed items to cook your favourite Italian dishes.
Tomatoes or good sauce can make wonders for your recipes. If you are on a mission to make the best home-made tomato sauce, chefs recommend choosing the ripest in-season tomatoes.
If possible, buy heirloom tomatoes. They are sure to turn your tomato sauce into a flavourful goodness.
Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices play an important role in Italian cooking. Simple dishes are pointed with a herb to make the dish come alive. Having a select few high-quality herbs and spices on hand will help make whipping up an authentic Italian meal even easier.
Extra virgin olive oil
Pour olive oil on everything to make any dish instantly better – think tomatoes, salads, seafood, pasta, and the list goes on. You can never go wrong with buying a good quality, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil; it is the most natural and highest quality oil.
Remember to always keep it stored in a cool spot, away from the sun, in order for it to keep its fresh flavour.
I keep five to six bulbs in the kitchen at all times. Buy fresh garlic that is compressed tightly and does not have its skin falling off at the market.
If you love dill pickles, then you will absolutely love capers. These tiny savoury buds add a spicy and salty note to your recipes. You can add them to salads or sauces.
Balsamic vinegar has a variety of uses in the Italian kitchen, the most common being as a condiment for salads (along with olive oil and a pinch of salt) but that would be restrictive.
Grains and pasta
It is what everyone thinks of when they first think of Italy – pasta. An Italian pantry should have a range of pasta shapes, as they have different uses for different sauces.
When craving something warm and comforting like polenta, having cornmeal in your pantry is a must. Not just any cornmeal, though, but preferably the kind made from a specific variety of corn – like Otto File – for maximum flavour and a richer mouth-feel.
Cheese is a crucial ingredient in Italian cooking, and several types are used. Hard cheeses are grated over pasta or shaved over salads. Soft cheese like mozzarella can be used for melting over meals, like lasagna and pizza.