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.
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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