There are certain ingredients that are staples in my kitchen. These key ingredients provide the foundation for many of my recipes. Knowing that I have these ingredients in my cupboard, fridge or freezer I feel confident that my family will always have something tasty to eat when time is short. Most of all, I’ve learnt that this is what works for us as a family and me as a home cook.
1. Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
I literally cannot survive with these in my cupboard. I always buy in bulk when they are on offer in the supermarket, so I’m able to buy the Italian ones which are of superior quality. Chopped tomatoes make great pasta sauces and bases for pizza.
2. Bucatini Pasta
To my dismay my local supermarket has stopped selling these long tubes of pasta, which I think are more substantial than spaghetti. I now buy mine from the local Italian deli. I like to eat bucantini pasta with my Beefy Meatballs.
3. Frozen spinach leaves
Jamie Oliver is a fan of this and so am I, it’s a great ingredient to have stashed away in your freezer. I often grab a handful of the frozen spinach cubes and throw them into homemade pasta sauces. Frozen spinach is very economical and versatile ingredient.
4. Frozen petit pois (peas)
To my mind another fab frozen veg. I prefer petit pois to garden peas as I think they taste sweeter. I use them with cooked chicken or pancetta in pasta dishes such as my Creamy Pesto Pancetta, Peas and Mushrooms with Spirali Pasta.
5. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese)
I love this stuff and a little goes a long way so I think it’s worth the price.
I always buy a bag of cooking onions. I usually sauté onions in olive oil until they are translucent and then build on flavours from there for stews, sauces and soups.
7. Cubetti di Pancetta
Such an amazing ingredient packed full of flavour. It usually has a long shelf life if unopen so it’s worth having in the fridge as a standby ingredient. It’s great with pasta, try it in my Spaghetti with Mushroom, Spinach and Pancetta Tomato Sauce.
Just like pancetta this cured meat has great depth of flavour and releases paprika oils into your cooking. I like to cook with chorizo in different ways. It’s brilliant on pizzas, in stews and goes well with pasta. I recommend you try my tasty Gnocchi with Chorizo Spinach and Tomato Sauce.
9. Crushed Chilli Flakes
Just a pinch of chilli flakes can liven up any dish. I use chilli flakes in sauces and soups to provide heat and warmth. Be careful as too much will spoil your dish.
10. Dried Oregano
I’m no herb snob and use dried herbs often. Dried oregano is one of my favourites and is lovely in a tomato sauce for pizzas.
These are definitely Italian and Mediterranean inspired ingredients and for now that’s where my foodie heart lies.
Until next time.