Giada! She's just like us! In that she also has to deal with that weeknight struggle of getting dinner on the table. We met up with the Food Network star last night (she was celebrating the launch of her four-quart Dutch oven in partnership with Lagostina — it's stainless steel with a copper bottom and a hammered copper lid, and it's beautiful) and asked her to share her number-one tip to help people get dinner on the table during busy weeknights, when there's no time to stop at the store or make any sort of real plan.
Her top tip: "Having a well-stocked pantry. If you don't have any ingredients in the house, it's gonna be real tough. So either stock your pantry, stock your freezer, or stock both."
She's got a (pretty obvious) point there. What should you stock in that pantry, though? She had some suggestions for that, too.
- Arborio rice
- Dried pasta
- Jarred tomato sauce
- Calabrian chili paste ("To give some heat," she says, adding that the stuff can sit in the fridge for a long, long time after being opened.)
- Olive oil
"That's all you need," she says. Lemons would be nice, too, she points out, so it might be worth checking out this post: The Best Way to Keep Lemons Fresh for a Whole Month. Armed with these supplies, you can always make some sort of basic-but-not-boring pasta dish or even risotto (although you will also need some sort of broth for the latter — add it to the list!).
You probably have all but one of these things already, right? If you're looking for a suggestion for Calabrian chili paste, she was using this stuff from Tutto Calabria. Just use it sparingly; it's legit spicy. And again, it will stay good in your fridge for at least three months once you open it.
How many of these Giada-mandated pantry staples do you have right now?