Giada’s Favorite Olive Oil (Plus 7 of Her Other Top Italian Groceries)

updated Dec 9, 2019
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I have never really spent much (any) time thinking about what sort of olive oil Giada uses at home. If pressed (pun intended!) I guess I would have said that she uses some super-fancy bottle that gets flown in from Italy — directly from a tiny operation to her home. Either that or she makes her own. Because that’s the sort of thing Giada would do, right? Nope!

In a video that she recently posted on her company’s Instagram, she took viewers on a tour through Bay Cities Italian Deli (an iconic Italian deli and grocery store in Santa Monica, CA). She called out some of her favorite Italian groceries — including her go-to olive oil, which is available at most mainstream grocery stores and costs less than $20! Let’s take a look at what she had to suggest.

Credit: Amazon

1. Rustichella d’Abruzzo Orecchiette Pasta

“I love to walk the pasta aisle just to check out what they have. There are always new shapes and new flours. I like to make pasta a lot because Jade loves it, but I like to change it up,” she says. Rustichella d’Abruzzo is one of her favorite brands: “This is a really good brand but the pasta turns out a little more like a dumpling. A little lighter. So it depends on what you like the flavor and the texture to be. I like the little orecchiette — they’re perfect with sausage and broccoli rabe.”

Buy: Rustichella Orecchiette Pasta, $12 for 8.8 ounces

Credit: Eataly

2. Mutti Passata

“This brand is probably my favorite puréed tomato. It’s just tomato purée. There’s nothing else in it. There’s no flavorings … nothing. This is the blank canvas for making my Parmesan pomodoro.

Buy: Mutti Passata, $2.80 for 14 ounces at Eataly

Credit: Eataly

3. Mutti Pomodorini

“Another thing I love is the cherry tomatoes made by the same brand. By Mutti. This makes very sweet, delicious tomato sauce. And you can do it really fast in a pan with a little bit of garlic and olive oil, even add some red pepper chili flakes. You can put it with fish, you can put it with chicken, on pasta, over a baked potato, over rice, anything.”

Buy: Mutti Cherry Tomatoes, $2.60 for 14 ounces at Eataly

4. Tutto Calabria Crushed Hot Chili Peppers

Fun fact: I have actually seen Giada use this stuff in person — I also tasted the resulting dish and it makes a difference! She calls it “the star of Italian cooking that makes everything spicy but absolutely delicious.” She says it’s a little tough to find in grocery stores but that you can get it online or in most Italian markets. “I just use a little bit. It’s kind of like using Tabasco or any other spicy sort of chili pepper sauce. I use this one on pasta, on chicken … I add it to just about everything. Not Jade’s food, it’s a little too spicy for Jade, but it depends on how much you use.”

Buy: Crushed Calabrian Chili Pepper Paste, $13 for 10 ounces

Credit: Amazon

5. Amarena Fabbri Cherries

This gorgeous jar holds cherries in syrup, Giada explains. “I had them growing up and, what I love to do is, have them on ice cream. I do a little vanilla ice cream and then I put the cherries right on top, full of the syrup. And they’re sweet and just devine. I’m telling you, it’s worth it. They also make great gifts. And they come in different sizes, so you can get a smaller one if you want. And when I’m done with [the jar], I wash it out and put flowers in it in my bathroom. So it has multiple purposes.”

Buy: Amarena Fabbri Cherries, $25 for 21 ounces

Credit: Target

6. Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“I really like to use Lucini olive oil in my cooking. It is an extra virgin olive oil, but it’s a very light one, so it’s really easy to cook with — you just have to be careful not to cook with it at too high a heat. But otherwise, it’s fantastic.”

Buy: Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $18 for 16.9 ounces at Target

Credit: Amazon

7. Paesano Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“This one’s a great one for dipping that I can only get here,” Giada says. She warns that it’s not easy to find anywhere else, but it is on Amazon. It’s only for dipping (mmm, bread!) and finishing a dish, she adds. “It’s unfiltered olive oil, so its too strong to cook with.”
Buy: Paesano Organic Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $23 for 33.8 ounces

Credit: Amazon

8. IASA Colatura di Alici di Cetara 

“This cute little bottle that looks like perfume is actually anchovy oil. It adds that salt, that umami, that balance of saltiness that you can’t get from anything else. If you don’t want to use an actual anchovy or anchovy paste, this is the next best thing. You only need a tiny tiny bit. Put it in pasta sauces, in stews … even if you were to toast some bread, and just drizzle a little bit over the bread and add some Parmesan cheese, that’d be fantastic, too. Pizza. Anything!”

Buy: IASA Anchovy Syrup Colatura di Alici di Cetara, $50 for two 100-ml bottles

Credit: Joe Lingeman

9. Pizza Dough

Lastly, Giada points out that she loves the pizza dough at Bay Cities. “My freezer’s filled with it, because I can pull one out and make pizza for Jade at the drop of the hat,” she says. You can’t buy this one online, but Giada has also suggested stopping into mom-and-pop pizzerias or Italian bakeries, as you can usually buy some of their pizza dough right there on the spot.

Read more: A Giada-Approved Shortcut for Better Pizza at Home

How many of these items are already in your pantry? How many do you want to try?