10 Essential Tools for Mastering Italian Cooking
These are must-haves for a well-stocked Italian kitchen.
When you’re craving simple, fresh, seasonal food, no one does it quite as well as the Italians. From chewy fresh pastas, to silky risottos and crispy, golden brown milanese, Italian cooking is about making simple food with the absolute best ingredients. This same philosophy extends to their kitchen tools. Italian kitchens are not filled with single-use gadgets and high-tech equipment, but versatile, time-tested pots, pans and utensils.
To help you channel your inner Italiano, we’ve rounded up the equipment that you’ll find in the kitchen of any pro or home cook who takes Italian food seriously. While these tools will give you everything you need in your arsenal to cook like a real nonna, you’ll soon find yourself reaching for this equipment for all of your kitchen tasks. Read on for the most essential tools for mastering Italian cooking.
1. Large Dutch Oven
An enameled cast-iron casserole, or Dutch Oven, has thick, insulated walls that create an even heat perfect for stewing, braising and making soups. Use it to make this luscious Italian Seafood Stew from Italian master Marco Canora, or this satisfying Pasta Fazool from our own Justin Chapple. The thick cast-iron walls also retain heat for a long time, making it the perfect serving vessel for bringing your food right to the table. Your soup or pasta will stay warm while people help themselves from the big pot.
Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Round Oven - 7 1/4-Qt., $385 at williams-sonoma.com
More commonly used in Asian cooking, a spider is one of our favorite tools for cooking pasta. The small strainer basket makes it easy to pluck pasta and gnocchi out of the pasta pot and dump it right into your simmering pan of sauce. Just the right amount of pasta water carries over, plus you don’t have to schlep a big pot of boiling water to the sink to drain.
Stainless Steel Spider Strainer, $10 at .com