Love Italian Cooking? Want to dedicate yourself to making Italian recipes from scratch, and need a list of the essential kitchen “musts” for gadgets and ingredients?

Here is our essential list, and readers: please send in your tips and advice so we can make the list even more complete!

Essential List of Italian Ingredients

Essential Ingredients & Gadgets for Italian Cooking

Fresh herbs

Basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, oregano, bay leaves, marjoram

Fruit and Veg in Season

Like garlic, onion, celery, carrot, Peperoncino (small chili peppers) lemons-  ALL YEAR ROUND; eggplant (aubergine), red peppers, zucchini (courgette), tomatoes (S. Marzano) figs- SUMMER ;  fennel,peas – SPRING;  radicchio, rocket,  spinach, butternut squash, endives, orange- AUTUMN AND WINTER

Cherished Italian food brands

Lavazza coffee (you can buy the beans and grind yourself), Illy (coffee), Bei & Nanini (coffee), Gerardo di Nola (pasta), Annalisa (canned tomatoes), Menabrea (beer), Baladin (beer), Mutti (passata), San Pellegrino (mineral water) , Nutella, Cedroni (sauces and preserves), Brezzo specialty foods, Prunotto (honey and jams).


Extra virgin olive oil, Olive Oil, Truffle olive oil, Balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico tradizionale di modena), butter (yes, butter!), black pepper mill, coarse sea salt, fine salt, Mostarda, etc. Here are some original and fabulous condiments from the Accademia Barilla gourmet shop.

Small gadgets

Mezzaluna cutter, Scolapasta (pasta strainer), Ravioli wheel, Pizza stone, Pestle and mortar (stone or wood), Mandolin, Mozzarella slicer, Ravioli tin, Parmesan Cheese grater, Garlic press, Pasta serving spoon, Parmesan knife, Peppermill.

pasta maker

Bigger gadgets

Tirasfoglia (pasta machine), Espresso maker, De ‘ Longhi coffee maker, pizza oven.

Other Food ingredients to have in the pantry

Canned tomatoes , passata (Mutti), anchovies, Colatura di alici, Capers from Salina, Cucunci from Salina, olives, chicken bouillon, canned cannellini beans, canned garbanzos (chickpeas), lentils, Pancetta or guanciale, Prosciutto di Parma, Bresaola, Salami, Italian sausages, cornmeal (farina gialla), Italian ‘OO’ Flour, Nutella, canned tuna, polenta, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, saffron.


parmesan cheese

Italian Cheeses for Cooking

  • Gorgonzola
  • Mascarpone
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmigiano
  • Pecorino
  • Ricotta
  • Taleggio

see more Italian cheese info


  • Ditalini
  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Spaghetti
  • Tagliatelle

Good brands include Garofalo, Martelli, Pastai Gragnanesi, Senatore Cappelli, Setaro


  • Arborio
  • Superfino Carnaroli

Cooking wines

  • Dry Marsala
  • Moscato

Drinks Cellar

White wines

  • Friuli super whites
  • Falanghina from Campania
  • Gavi from Piedmont

Red wines

  • recommended wine estates here


  • Campari
  • Limoncello (keep in the freezer),
  • Vermouth

more on Italian spirits and liqueurs here.

Some Italian cookbooks we love

The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, La Cucina: The Traditional Home Cooking of Italy by Italian Academy of Cuisine, Gennaro’s Italian Home Cooking: Quick and Simple Meals to Feed Family and Friends by Gennaro Contaldo, Carluccio’s Complete Italian Food by Antonio Carluccio and Priscilla Carluccio.


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5 thoughts on “The Italian Pantry- Essential List of Ingredients and Gadgets for the Italian Kitchen

  1. Paola says:

    In section 7, I would add the following, for all occasions you have no bread: grissini schiacciatina friselle (ring-shaped Puglian rolls - half baked, removed from the oven and divided into two halves, which are returned to the oven and allowed to bake until done, then dried completely. very very hard, then you dip it in a bowl of water, holding it for a second or two before putting it on your plate and it becomes soft :)
  2. Carol Egbert says:

    I just returned from two months in Sicily, cooking in a very minimal kitchen. I took two micro planes with me and used them all the time, for citrus rind, cheese, almonds, garlic, and chocolate.
  3. Silvia says:

    I am glad to see I have all of them! If not my mother would be complaining! Great post!
  4. Paola says:
  5. KennQ says:

    great post, I really like it. Thanks for posting. :)

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