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The Italian Pantry: Why these 6 Italian Ingredients are Essential to Italian Cuisine

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Italian ingredients are full of flavor, nutrients, and love. Italian cuisine is revered and is one of the most delicious types of food in the world.


Part of what makes Italian food loved by so many is the flavorful ingredients often found in their dishes. Italian chefs and cooks are dedicated to respecting these ingredients and passing down culinary traditions from generation to generation.

While dishes vary from one region to the next, we’re discussing six Italian ingredients that are used all throughout the beautiful country. Continue reading to find out more.

  1. Fresh Herbs and Spices — Italian dishes are flavorful thanks to the fresh herbs and spices used in their cooking. Basil is one of the more popular herbs used in Italian cooking. Other commonly used herbs and spices found in Italian cuisine include oregano, capers, garlic, sage, and more.

  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil — Olive oil is found in most Italian dishes and is humorously referred to as “liquid gold” because of how important and common it is. Olive oil can be used in cooking, garnishing, and dipping.

  3. Red and White Wine — No Italian dish is complete without red or white wine. It’s a key piece of Italian culture and cuisine and has been around since before its colonization. Certain types of wine are used for drinking and are carefully and thoughtfully paired with specific dishes. Wine is also used for simmering meats and sauces.

  4. Cheese — Italian food is nothing without cheese. Italian food features a wide variety of cheese in its dishes, and each one offers a unique flavor to the plate. Hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino are grainy in texture and can be shaved over salads or pasta dishes or used in sauces. Soft cheeses, like mozzarella and ricotta, can be used for melting over lasagna and pizza.

  5. Tomatoes — A central component of Italian cuisine is tomatoes, which are the heart of Italian dishes. Over 300 varieties of tomatoes are available in Italy, including cherry, Pomodorino, Roma, and San Marzano tomatoes. Tomatoes can be used in sauces for pizza and pasta and soups, gazpacho, salads, and garnishes.

  6. Pasta — Pasta, a quintessential Italian dish, is made up of a flour, egg, and water base that can include other ingredients for flavoring such as salt, olive oil, squid ink, spices, and herbs. Pasta is considered to be the pride of Italy and comes in various shapes. Some popular shapes include spaghetti, ravioli, fettuccine, strozzapreti, and more. Be sure to check out our menu featuring our mouth-watering pasta dishes and many others.

Enjoy a Part of Italy at La Trattoria di Francesco

Eating Italian food is an experience: a gathering of loved ones with food and wine. Taste the authentic dishes at La Trattoria Di Francesco, where you can try each of these Italian ingredients and more. Cooking is an expression of love, and we want you to join us as we dine our way through Italy’s culinary history. Make your reservation at La Trattoria di Francesco today. We’re located in the beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah.

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