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Keep Your Pantry Stocked With Giada's 8 Italian Essentials

Giada's kitchen isn't complete without these long-lasting ingredients!


My pantry isn't complicated, but there are a few special Italian ingredients that I just can't live without. With just these essentials on hand - plus dried pasta, olive oil, and garlic! - you can always put together a satisfying meal in minutes, or add an Italian twist to those tried-and-true classic recipes that get put on repeat. If you've got a specialty market in your town, you should be able to find everything on this list, or check online at amazon.com or buonitalia.com.
1. Calabrian chile paste: This blend of crushed dried chiles and extra-virgin olive oil gives a mellow, slightly sweet heat that improves everything, from pasta sauces and stews to salad dressings.

2. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds: Stop throwing your cheese rinds away! The hard end of that hunk of parm is just the thing to add a savory depth to soups, stews, and stocks. Save yours in the freezer or ask for them at the cheese department at your local market.

The Secret To A Flavorful Soup or Sauce: Parmesan Rinds!
3. Finocchiona: A fennel-studded dried salami. In a pinch, you can substitute any dry salami, but the herbal notes of true finocchiona are a taste of Tuscany.
4. Oil-packed tuna and anchovies: They might seem like a splurge compared to Chicken of the Sea, but these little jars of fish deliver big flavor in a small package. Toss a jar of tuna and its oil with some spaghetti and toasted garlic and you've got dinner!

Paccheri with Pomodorini and Tuna
Castelvetrano olives: These big, buttery green olives from Sicily have a totally unique flavor unlike the briny green olives you may be used to. They're delicious with aperitivi or tossed in salads
Speck: Similar to prosciutto, speck is a lightly smoked cured ham that gives great flavor to pastas and meat dishes and shines on an antipasti platter.

Sussing out the cheese at Bay Cities!
Cheese: You can never have too much cheese! I make it a point to always have ciliegine (tiny, cherry tomato-sized balls of fresh mozzarella), burrata (soft and delicate, with a creamy interior), and scamorza (a smoked cheese that's a little firmer than mozzarella) in the fridge.

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