Chefs' Fave Italian Ingredients

Find out the must-have Italian ingredients and pantry staples chefs and professionals use at home!
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Find out the must-have Italian ingredients and pantry staples chefs and professionals use at home!

Must-Have Italian

For our first-ever Italian issue, we asked chefs what their favorite Italian ingredients are! Find out which ingredients these professionals reach for from cheese to spice blend to canned tomatoes and more.

Chefs’ Italian Faves

Pasta la Vista

"Cannolicchi takes its shape from a rare Adriatic clam and is typically served with seafood sauces. I like to toss it with anchovies and capers; the ribbed texture holds onto sauces really well."

-- Tom Colicchio, chef/owner of Craft restaurants in New York City and lead judge on Top Chef

Pasta La Vista

Rustichella d'Abruzzo, $8, markethallfoods.com

True Blue

"I prefer using gorgonzola dolce because it's sweeter and less pungent that regular gorgonzola. It's great for pastas and salads because it doesn't overpower the other flavors in the dish."

-- Marc Vetri, chef/owner of Vetri, Osteria, Amis and Alla Spina in Philadelphia

True Blue

Di Bruno Brothers, $8 for 8 oz., dibruno.com

Cool Beans

"We serve this coffee-espresso blend at the James Beard House. The artisanal beans create a smooth brew that complements all the diverse cuisines we feature."

-- Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation

Cool Beans

Lavazza, $25 for 2.2 lbs., amazon.com

Spice Route

"People always ask for the key to my lamb meatballs: It's a blend of sun-dried basil, tarragon, oregano and fennel called chios. It would take a lot of time to create my own mix that adds so many levels of flavor."

-- Marc Forgione, chef/owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione in New York City and American Cut in Atlantic City, NJ

Spice Route

La Boite a Epice, $15, theingredientfinder.com

Slam Dunkers

"These buttery cookies aren't too sweet, so they're ideal for serving with -- and dipping into -- cappuccino. The beautiful tin makes them a great gift for your favorite foodie friends!"

-- Katie Lee, author of The Comfort Table

Slam Dunkers

Sant Ambroeus Italian Cookie Tin, $35, santambroeus.com

Dynamic Duo

"These organic oils are the finest I've tasted. One's a bit bolder and the other is lighter and fruitier. I use them to finish special dishes: the bold for steak, lamb or veal, and the light for fish."

-- Michael Schlow, chef/owner of Happy's Bar & Kitchen and Tico's in Boston

Dynamic Duo

Manni Olive Oil from Tuscany, $57 for 2, buymanni.com

Fine Vines

"For chefs, cooking with produce at the height of its season isn't a preference -- it's an absolute law. These tomatoes are canned at their peak, and the flavor and sweetness you get from them blows all other canned varieties out of the water."

-- Andrew Carmellini, chef/restaurateur of Locanda Verde and The Dutch in New York City

Fine Vines

Jersey Fresh, $2.50 per can, mybrands.com

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