The Most Common Ingredients you will Find in Italian Food

I have to admit, I am a sucker for Italian food! I do not necessarily have an Italian meal every day, but not a week would pass without me having a taste of it! I will either cook it at home or eat in a nice Italian restaurant in NYC, Scarpetta being my favorite from the bunch. I do not know what exactly Italian food has that I love it so much. Must be the method they are prepared or the ingredients that are used. Speaking of the latter, the rest of this post will briefly look at some of the ingredients that are commonly incorporated in an Italian dish.

Olive Oil

If you eat in the best Italian restaurants in Manhattan, there is one thing that they will always have – olive oil. They are used in almost every dish. It is also versatile as you can enjoy it in many ways. A staple for a Mediterranean diet, olive oil is not only flavorful, but it is also good for the health, especially for the heart.


This is another ingredient that is ever-present in Italian cuisine. With the health benefits of tomatoes and the fact that it adds a distinct flavor in almost any dish, no wonder it is popular! Whether it is fresh or canned, Italians love cooking with tomatoes, especially for their pasta sauces. It is fresh, flavorful, acidic, and sweet.


It is one of the most popular herbs used in Italian cooking. From fresh salads to pasta sauces, basil is incorporated in many Italian dishes. It can add a hint of freshness to any food. When cooking with basil, however, you have to be careful about the quantity as it can make the dish taste bitter when you use too much.


This pungent bulb has long been recognized as one of the most important elements of Italian cuisine. It adds a strong flavor and aroma to any dish. When selecting garlic, look for heads that are hard and firm. There should be no broken skin and sprouts.


In English, prosciutto means ham. It is actually already a food on its own, but it is also an ingredient that you can incorporate in Italian dishes in more ways than one. It is one of the prepared meats that could elevate the flavor of your food, such as for salad, pasta, and pizza.


It is another pillar of an authentic Italian cuisine. To be specific, there are three main types of cheeses that are used in cooking Italian food – Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, ricotta, and mozzarella di bufala. The cheeses can be used in almost anything, including salads, pasta sauces, desserts, and pastry. The right cheese will make your dish a stand out!

The ingredients that have been mentioned above are the ones that make Italian food mouthwatering and special! Add them in your next dishes to enjoy flavors that are sure to tickle the taste buds.

Kelly Tate

Kelly is a full-time supermum, caring for two kids and a hardworking husband. A cook, a cleaner, a carer and all round hard worker, striving for the perfect family life (with a few bumps along the way!) Eternally honest and sometimes brutally forward, no topics are off limits with Kelly.
Kelly Tate