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Italian Kitchen: Top 10 Useful Must-Have Tools to Keep

By Editorial Staff

Contributed by David Galassi, Top 10 Guru

My Italian kitchen is always ready to go: antipasta for two, shells for twenty, red gravy that will last a week. I have the same essential things that stocked my grandma’s kitchen.

In an Italian kitchen, it’s more about the right size than the right thing. Big spoons and pots. Big appetites. Here are the things I couldn’t do without, the top ten things in my Italian kitchen:

10. Large tablespoons

Each table setting needs a fork and a large spoon. Makes it easier to twist a mouthful of spaghetti onto the fork and can be used to scoop up that last bit of sauce. (And of course, you never, ever, ever cut up spaghetti or any other long pasta! The ghosts of 1000 Italian grandmothers would descend upon your table in horror if you did! Even children need to learn how to twirl those delicious strands! And if you break it before you cook it…heaven forbid!)

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9. Gravy boats

italian kitchen
Always have extra “gravy” on your table to ladle over hot lasagna, pasta or other dishes served. Of course, we mean a good homemade sauce. And keep a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, too. You’ll need it for dipping the Italian bread or adding to salads.

8. Pasta serving bowls

Large pasta serving bowls make your presentation perfect. You can never have too many. The bigger, the better. Mix and match colors and patterns. Go for rustic, Italian pottery with hand-painted designs. Set a hearty and colorful table to match your food. They also double as antipasta salad bowls.

7. Pasta machine

italian kitchen
Try making your own pasta using a pasta machine. It can be basic or fancy. It is simple and fun for the whole family and nothing beats fresh linguini or spaghetti.

6. Cheesegrater

A good slide-type will have your Romano and Parmesan soft and fluffy for table side sprinkling. A crank type can shave larger bits for cooking and stuffing. Better yet, get both! You can never have too much strong, delicious cheese in Italian cooking!

5. Baking dishes

Lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells, etc. need good large baking dishes to make the 50 or so shells and pan of lasagna that feed 20. Too many, you say? Never! It’s an Italian kitchen, remember?

4. Very sharp knives

Slicing and dicing up your zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and eggplant will require precision knife work to keep all slices the same thickness. Dice and chop. No food processor here! Hard work is fun and makes for “homemade quality.”

3. A garlic press

italian kitchen
With a head of fresh garlic needed for each dish, a garlic press will come on handy. Look for one that’s solidly built, to stand up to pressing large cloves completely. Some of the cheaper presses will bend or will leave half of the clove unpressed. You also want one with a broad handle, so you can easily squeeze it without cutting it into your hand. And of course, keep lots of fresh garlic on hand…there is never storage of garlic-enriched foods in a true Italian kitchen!

2. A well-stocked spice rack

My Italian kitchen requires every spice imaginable. Every Italian recipe has the basics (rosemary, garlic, basil, oregano) but you may add your own touch with secret spices. Be courageous and grow your own herbs. Plant in a pot or a corner of the garden. Don’t forget the large container of olive oil which is a mainstay to every dish.

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1. Several large pots

italian kitchen
You never cook for one. Maybe 100 but not one. You will need large stock pots for water, pasta sauce, and whatever else you are cooking. Get basic or fancy. They have to hold a lot.


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