Food News

The must-have Italian pantry staples for your kitchen

Olive oil, passata, pasta, sardines and more. With these staples on hand, it’s hard to go wrong with the classics.

By Jordan Kretchmer
Passata
If you don't happen to have a free day (and an ample tomato harvest) to gather the family to make and bottle your own, then this rich, cooked tomato concentrate is the next best thing. Produced in Italy, it makes the perfect base for a simple pizza or pasta dish.
Tomato Passata, $10.50 for 690gm, simonjohnson.com
Balsamic vinegar
Hailing from the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, balsamic is the go-to dressing ingredient for a radicchio or rocket salad.
Ponte Vecchio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, $27.95 for 250ml, davidjones.com
Italian olives
These Taggiasche pitted olives are brined and stored in extra-virgin olive oil. Serve them as an antipasto, scattered on a pizza or pressed into focaccia.
Sommariva Black Pitted Olives, $20.75 for 180gm, simonjohnson.com
Risotto rice
Favoured in Venetian cooking, Vialone Nano is a semi-fino rice with an unpolished oval-shaped grain. Its starchy exterior helps to create risotto's creamy texture.
Ferron Vialone Nano IGP rice, $13.90 for 1kg, enoteca.com.au
Polenta
Air-dried yellow corn is stoneground to produce a coarse "Bramata"-style grain, which is the perfect foil for rich ragù or pasta sauces.
Moretti Polenta Bramata, $5.20 for 500gm, enoteca.com.au
Tomato paste
This double-concentrated paste was the first product introduced by the Fratelli Mutti company in 1899. Use it as a rich flavour base for stocks and braises.
Mutti Tomato Paste Double Concentrate, $2.49 for 130gm, harrisfarm.com.au
Canned tomatoes
Celebrate summer tomatoes all year long with these whole and chopped tinned staples.
Mutti Pelati, $1.99 for 400gm & Mutti Polpa, $1.69 for 400gm, harrisfarm.com.au
Olive oil
This cold-pressed, unfiltered extra-virgin oil is made with olives from the Molise region in Italy's south.
Colonna Amphora Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, $57.25 for 750ml, simonjohnson.com
Pasta sauce
Tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers, garlic, parsley and chilli make the perfect puttanesca sauce to always have on hand.
Simon Johnson Pasta Sauce with Olives & Anchovies, $10.50 for 530gm, simonjohnson.com
Dried pasta
With good-quality dried pasta in the pantry, you'll never go hungry.
David Jones Spaghetti, $5.95 for 500gm, davidjones.com; Simon Johnson Organic Giant Fusilli, $8.50 for 500gm, simonjohnson.com
Tinned sardines
Wild-caught Clupea Pilchardus sardines are fished from the Mediterranean and preserved in olive oil.
Sardine Pollastrini di Anzio, $9 for 100gm, gippslandcheese.com.au
Salt
This sea salt is gathered from naturally occurring basins on the coastline of western Sicily.
Sicilian Sea Salt, $6.95 for 500gm, essentialingredient.com.au