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Good Italian Food

Updated on January 1, 2022
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Writing Nag is a pseudonym of blogger Patricia Biro. She writes about home and garden, finance, creative writing, and vintage collectibles.

The Best Italian Food

Typical Italian food includes pizza, pasta, focaccia bread, garlic bread, Italian cookies, lasagna and ingredients like pesto, mozzarella cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic..Americans love good Italian food! In fact, studies show that Italian food restaurants are always at the top of the list.

The best Italian food starts with great ingredients.

If you love good Italian food like I do you'll want to stock your pantry with the following. Start with good quality canned tomatoes and then add capers, olives, olive oil, dried porcini mushrooms, arborio rice, corn meal, canned chick peas, canned cannellini beans, chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock, a variety of quality Italian dried pasta and anchovies or anchovy paste. Add dried herbs like crushed red pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, sage and bay leaves. And don't forget cinnamon, whole nutmeg and dried fruit.

With these simple Italian pantry ingredients you will have the start of a multitude of simple nutritious and delicious Italian recipes.

La Bella San Marzano Tomatoes, 28-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)
La Bella San Marzano Tomatoes, 28-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)
San Marzano! The best tomatoes for red sauce.

Italian Pantry

Italian cooking is simple cooking; it depends on the cook to find the best ingredients possible. The success of an Italian meal relies on top quality Italian pantry staples and the freshest available seasonal ingredients.

Although many people are familiar with immigrant Italian food, marinara sauce covered with lots of mozzarella cheese I would rather have good Italian food including: Fresh Mozzarella with basil and olive oil, simple seasonal soups and good breads.

San Marzano Tomatoes - The Best Tomatoes for Italian Cooking

Why are San Marzano tomatoes the best tomatoes to have in your Italian pantry? San Marzano are a variety of tomatoes that are popular with chefs from Italy to New York City.

San Marzano tomatoes are grown in volcanic soil outside of Naples, Italy. Chefs and restaurant owners know that the flavor of San Marzano tomatoes are the best in the world. Use for pizza sauce, marinara, minestrone, tomato basil soup and numerous Italian recipes.

You can find La Bella San Marzano Tomatoes on Amazon if you can't find them in your local Italian market. Or alternatively grow San Marzano tomato plants in your garden this year!


From the Farmers' Market and Your Italian Pantry

Minestrone Soup

8 servings

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup zucchini cut into half moons

1/2 cup yellow squash cut into half moons

1 15 ounce can green beans

4 cloves minced garlic

4 cups vegetable broth

2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained

2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

3-6 cups hot water

4 cups fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup small pasta--try orzo, tubetti, ditalini, elbow, shell one or a mixture

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Sauté onion, celery and carrot until the onions are translucent.

3. Add garlic, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash to the oil and cook until vegetables are slightly wilted.

4. Add broth, spices, and water to the pot.

5. Bring soup to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are cooked.

6. Add spinach leaves, canned beans and your choice of pasta and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to the bite.

7. Garnish each serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Love them or hate them you'll want to stock your Italian pantry with at least one tin of high quality anchovies. They give puttanesca sauce depth and add a great flavor to many Italian recipes!

Linguine Puttanesca

2-4 servings

1 pound Italian linguine cooked

1 cup dry white

1/2 cup olive oil

2 oz anchovy fillets

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup small diced onion

1 can 35 oz plum tomatoes, drained

2 1/2 oz capers

1/2 cup pitted imported black olives, coarsely chopped

Black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

Place the oil, anchovies and onion in a heavy saute pan. Mash to form a paste. Saute until onion starts to brown, add garlic, saute 2-3 minutes. Add white wine and rest of ingredients. Simmer about 30 minutes uncovered. Stirring occasionally. Season with pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Microplane Classic Zester Grater, Black
Microplane Classic Zester Grater, Black
The best grater in my opinion!

Secret Ingredient?

One of the first chefs I ever worked with took out a fresh nutmeg and grated it into Fettucini Alfredo before serving. His secret ingredient in marinara, cream sauces, ravioli, cannoli and more. Fresh nutmeg!

Roasted Red Peppers

Fire Roasted

For antipasti, soup or panini the sweet roasted flavor of roasted peppers adds a smoky depth to any Italian recipe. While you can make them yourself, it's nice to have a tin of roasted peppers in your Italian Pantry to add to pasta dishes, salads, panini or soups!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patricia Biro


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