If you are going to be following any of the recipes that I post in this website, you have got to have a proper pantry. It is imperative that you keep certain things handy so that you can readily prepare any and all of the dishes I will present to you. In the last couple of days, I’ve have compiled a working list of the essentials. This list isn’t exclusive; that is, if you have things that you like to cook with that I haven’t included, by all means have them. I didn’t include certain items like tuna, canned string beans and the like, I assumed one would already have these things in there. But, if you like chilies in adobo, or chipotle hot sauce, then have at it.
Pantry List : The Basics
Olive oil 100%
These oils are good for all around cooking. Olive oil has a low smoke point, just get regular olive oil. Extra Virgin Olive oil isn’t necessary for our purposes here. Canola oil is best for all other purposes; it has a high smoke point, and is a good all purpose oil.
Sea salt/Kosher salt
Coarse Black Pepper
red pepper flakes
Pasta/ Rice/ Beans
Ribbon pasta ( ex. spaghetti, angel hair, ect,)
tubular pasta (ex. penne rigate, ziti, macaroni)
Flat pasta (ex. fettucine, linguine)
Different pastas lend themselves to different utilizations. For example, tubular pastas are great for baking, ribbon pastas are good for light to medium bodied sauces (marinara, white clam), and flat pastas can take more substantial sauces (meat, red clam, meatballs). A good rule of thumb is: the thinner/ smaller the pasta, the lighter the sauce, and the thicker/larger or ribbed the pasta, the heavier the sauce.
canned or dried beans of your choice (canned beans are good for a quick addition to soups)
Arborio or short-grained rice
Rice of your choice
( i keep a jasmine rice and brown rice on hand)
1 can Veg-All
1 ea.Tomato paste in a tube (keeps longer)
1 can tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes in Juice
2 cans Whole tomatoes w/ seasonings in juice ( Suns of Italy)
1 jar whole roasted peppers
1 jar artichokes hearts
Unsalted top saltines
unseasoned bread crumbs
red wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
canned beef stock*
canned chicken stock*
canned vegetable stock*
( Or, you can make your own)
Dry brown gravy mix ( for bootleg demi-glace)
1 bottle each (optional)*
red and white wine
*a lot of my recipes require alcohol. Now, it is a small amount, and is necessary for dishes like Chicken Marsala and Coq Au Vin; otherwise, it is a moot point to prepare these dishes without it. If you are squeamish about cooking with alcohol; cut the amount, but you must use it to get optimum flavor.
Now with these basic ingredients, you will be able to whip out any of my recipes anytime. In the upcoming weeks, I will have recipes for some basic spice blends that you can make that are lower in salt that commercial blends, a 20-minute marinara, some soups, homemade dressings, even some meatless options for all you vegetarians out there.
This blog will also go through some changes as I decide the direction i want to go in. I will keep the commentary on all things food along with recipes and anything else that is food related. I would love some feedback on what you all think, as any suggestions on improvements.