8 Essential Grains and Pastas Every Home Cook Needs in 2020

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Credit: Courtesy of Massa Organics

Remember back in March when the grain section of every grocery store was wiped out completely? As the reality of a global pandemic set in, shoppers made a mad dash for rice, pasta, and more — and can you blame them?

Whether you’re still working on all those non-perishables that you purchased months ago, or are in need of a restock, these are the eight grains and pastas that the Kitchn team has determined to be absolutely essential. We’re talking quick-cooking rice, boxed mac and cheese, weeknight pasta, weekend pasta, and more.

Rice: Massa Organics Short Grain Brown Rice

This California company makes the only brand of rice that our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, will use. She loves this soft, tender, and flavorful rice so much that she buys it by the 20-pound bag. (Who among us doesn’t need 20 pounds of rice right now?)

Buy: Massa Organics Short Grain Brown Rice, $7.95 for 2 pounds at Market Hall Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Maya Kaimal

Quick-Cook Rice: Maya Kaimal Organic Surekha Rice

Need a quick dinner helper? What about microwaving one of Maya Kaimal’s Organic Surekha Rice pouches? The South Indian rice is firm and sweet, and comes in two flavor options: Turmeric and Cumin and Perfectly Plain. Best of all, each bag takes only 90 seconds to zap.

Buy: Maya Kaimal Organic Surekha Rice, $2.79 for 8.5 ounces at Thrive Market

Credit: Courtesy of TruRoots

Quinoa: TruRoots Quinoa

Mix up your grain bowl game with this consistently light, fluffy, and nutty quinoa. Compared to other grains, quinoa is relatively low in calories and higher in fiber and protein. We love to use it to make salads, grain bowls, stuffed peppers, chili, and even oatmeal!

Buy: TruRoots Quinoa, $9.99 for 32 ounces

Credit: Courtesy of De Cecco

Weeknight Pasta: De Cecco Bucatini

If you ever want to witness a lively debate, just ask a group of people what their favorite pasta shape is. For a majority of the Kitchn team, that’s bucatini, a kind of wider spaghetti with a tiny hole running through the center. The purpose of the hole is twofold: to allow for more even cooking and also to let some sauce sneak in! Not for nothing, De Cecco is popular in Italy, too.

Buy: De Cecco Bucatini, $2.79 for 1 pound at Whole Foods

Credit: Courtesy of Puccini

Weekend Pasta: La Fabbrica Della Pasta Colonne Pompei

These spiral pasta noodles are already ridiculously long, and when you pile them in a bowl, they look like one endless fusilli! It’s the kind of silly gag we need at this point after approximately 30 weeks of boring ourselves with our own home cooking.

Buy: La Fabbrica Della Pasta Colonne Pompei, $21.99 for two 1-pound bags at Walmart

Credit: Courtesy of Annie's Homegrown

Boxed Mac and Cheese: Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar

In times like these, everyone needs an emergency supply of boxed mac and cheese. We always find ourselves coming back to Annie’s because the white cheddar cheese sauce is simply the best (please watch Schitt’s Creek).

Buy: Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar, $1.79 for 6 ounces at Thrive Market

Credit: Courtesy of Jovial Foods

Gluten-Free Pasta: Jovial Foods Brown Rice Penne

Gluten-free pasta has made some serious strides over the past few years, and Jovial Foods has been the brand to watch. Its pasta is made in Tuscany from 100 percent organic whole-grain rice grown in Italy. Our Managing Editor, Lauren Kodiak (a big fan of this penne), says you can’t even tell it’s gluten-free.

Buy: Jovial Foods Brown Rice Penne, $3.99 for 12 ounces at Thrive Market

Credit: Courtesy of Hakubaku Co.

Soba Noodles: Hakubaku Organic Soba Noodles

These soba noodles are made of a blend of wheat and buckwheat flour and cook in just four minutes, making them ideal for a quick dinner. Fun fact: These noodles are made in Australia and there’s a whole history connecting Japanese soba noodles with Australian wheat.

Buy: Hakubaku Organic Soba Noodles, $3.99 for 9.5 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Photo: Andria Lo; Prop Styling: Anna Raben