Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.
With everything going on in the world right now, people are relying on their pantries like never before.
Ina Garten—the internet’s favorite cook, whose Barefoot Contessa episodes are a comfort blanket during these trying times—is no different. Yesterday, she posted a photo of her expertly stocked pantry on Instagram, and offered up ideas and advice to fans at home who are trying to get creative while cooking with what they’ve got on hand.
“I know so many of you are very anxious about what’s to come because I am, too. The one thing we CAN do, though, is cook for the people we love who are sheltered in place with us. Over the next days and weeks, I’ll post lots of ideas for delicious things to make from your pantry and fridge - along with substitutions if you only have granulated sugar and not brown sugar, or onions and not shallots! Please stay safe and we will take care of each other through this crisis. Tell me what’s in your pantry and I’ll think of recipes for you to make! ❤️❤️❤️” — @inagarten
Inside Ina’s pantry are a bunch of staples we already know and love, like dried cannellini beans and multiple kinds of pasta. There were also a few noteworthy ingredients we're adding to our to-cook list (and to-buy list, when possible) while spending more time at home.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s in the Barefoot Contessa’s pantry right now, plus a few delicious ideas for what to make tonight (or tomorrow, or next week) if you’ve got similar items sitting in your cabinets. Ina will also be sharing what she’s cooking on social media (her latest post is a riff on family-style broccoli and bow-ties), so if you’re in need of a little inspiration, keep checking in on her Instagram.
1. Angel Hair Pasta
I counted not one, not two, but seven boxes of angel hair pasta in Ina’s pantry. She doesn’t seem to be brand loyal, with a mix of Ronzoni, Barilla, and DeCecco in the mix. Her lemon capellini recipe (just lemon zest, lemon juice, and two sticks of butter) remains one of my favorite weeknight comfort recipes as a fellow angel hair enthusiast. You could also try this version from Sue Kreitzman and serve it with a quick chicken piccata. Another angel hair option: turn it into a cold sesame noodle salad.
2. Cipriani Tagliarelle (or Any Egg Pasta)
Angel hair is a staple dried pasta, but this tagliarelle from Cipriani is one of Ina’s all-time favorites. When I’m feeling down about missing my friends and not knowing what might happen next, eating a big bowl of silky egg pasta makes me feel just a little bit better. It looks like she has the classic tagliarelle (green boxes) and tagliolini (white box, extra thin), which both cook in three or four minutes (just like fresh pasta would, but with the convenience of dried).
You can interchange any type of strand pasta with these recipes, depending on what you have on hand: Ruth Rogers’ tagliarini with asparagus and herbs, Jamie Oliver’s easy sausage carbonara, or Diane Kochilas’ Genius pasta with Greek yogurt and caramelized onions.
There’s also an unknown type of Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta hiding in the back, which looks like it may be a short pasta (maybe penne or rigatoni?) based only on the shape and size of the bag.
3. Ramen Noodles
Yep, Ina’s got a few packs of the Top Ramen (chicken flavor) that got most of us through college. In the comments, Ina mentioned that she’s “working on a chicken soup with ramen” and to stay tuned. Until that recipe drops, add these spicy cold peanut noodles and San Bei (aka Taiwanese three cup tofu and ramen) to your list.
4. Cannellini Beans
One of the most versatile white beans, the humble cannellini is seen at least five times in this photo. They appear to be Citarella brand, a local N.Y.C. grocery store, but the takeaway here is that dried beans are an essential pantry staple. Use them as the backbone to a spring cassoulet (using canned artichokes instead of fresh ones if you can’t get them right now). Make a big pot and use the leftovers to make cannellini croquettes. Or cook up a meatless bean ragout to serve over spaghetti squash...or angel hair pasta (polenta or rice would also work, too).
5. Farro, Rice & Other Grains
Having an assortment of grains on hand means you can throw together easy bowls that you won't get bored of. Ina stocks RiceSelect’s couscous and Texmati rice. Citarella’s farro seems to be another one of her go-tos, but you could also use Bob’s Red Mill or any other brand you can find.
6. Rao’s Marinara Sauce
In the world of, “If you can’t make your own, store-bought is fine,” Rao’s marinara sauce reigns supreme. Their classic marinara can be used in almost any recipe that requires tomato sauce, from homemade pizza to lasagna to shakshuka. The same goes for any jarred marinara or homemade tomato sauce you’ve got hanging around.
7. Two Kinds of Vanilla
In Ina’s eyes, “good vanilla” is twofold: homemade, with whole vanilla beans steeped in vodka (hiding in the back of the pantry in a big glass jar); and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract.
But no matter what vanilla you have, it’ll make an A+ addition to French toast, three-ingredient, no-churn Scotch vanilla ice cream, and so many other things. In addition to vanilla, Ina has all her baking basics organized on one shelf, including gelatin, which could be used to make this “gifted” cheesecake.
8. Lindt Bittersweet Chocolate Bars
The iconic gold-and-blue-wrapped Lindt bittersweet chocolate bars are a mainstay in Ina’s pantry and many chocolatey baked goods. You might want to use it (or a similar chocolate bar) to make five-minute bittersweet chocolate pudding or ooey and gooey double-baked chocolate cake.
9. Baker’s Joy No-Stick Spray
And to make sure all those baked goods don’t stick, Ina uses Baker’s Joy no-stick spray with flour. (It’s a combination of oil and flour so you don’t have to flour your cake pans! Magic.) This one took a little digging to find the name brand of, but if Ina believes in it, I bet it’s good.
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