A good home cook is able to create a meal in no time with a bunch of ingredients they can easily find in the pantry. The secret is, of course, a well stocked store cupboard. With these at your disposal, improvised dinners and lazy lunches become something authentic and full of flavour.
Keep a few jars of already cooked legumes on your cupboard. You can either buy the best quality you can afford or dedicate a Sunday to some preserving. When we use our wood burning oven to bake bread or pizza, at the end we put a few pots of legumes to slowly cook overnight into creamy beans or chickpeas. The day after we spoon them into sterilized jars, boil them for about twenty minutes and then we stock the jars in the pantry for future uses. A good supply of salted anchovies, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and dried chillies will also add a kick to any quick recipe that comes to your mind, giving it a southern Italian allure.
Keep a box of potatoes in a dark spot, a few packs of dried pasta (both short and long shapes), canned tuna and mackerel which can be turned into recipes far more interesting than a cold salad. And don’t forget breadcrumbs: I collect all my stale bread and once in a while prepare a large batch of breadcrumbs. Making it at home allows you to choose the coarseness of your crumbs: use fine breadcrumbs for coating meat and fish and dusting, and coarse breadcrumbs for stuffings and pasta.
A basket of organic lemons will decorate your kitchen and lend a fresh, zesty touch to many recipes. Nuts and dried fruit can be a snack on their own, or will add richness and depth of flavour to salads, pasta, meat, stuffing and desserts.
Recipes made with a few ingredients from the pantry are a standard staple in our diet. Learn how to cook tasty weekday meals with an Italian twist, with just a few ingredients that you can find in your store cupboard.