The Italian cuisine is one the most revered, not to mention delicious cuisines in the entire world. Part of what makes Italian cuisine so special is the ingredients that are often the main star of the dish.

The fresh and locally-sourced ingredients are the secret to success of Italian cuisine.

Although the dishes differ from region to region, these 7 ingredients are the most commonly used in Italian food.

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is jokingly dubbed as ‘liquid gold’ because of the level of importance it holds in Italian cuisine. Olive oil is used in almost all preparation of Italian dishes. Be it a light drizzle over some salad or a basic component of a pasta sauce, olive oil is vital. Italians even enjoy the pure taste of olive oil with freshly-baked bread.

2. Tomato

If there is one culinary mainstay in Italian cuisine, it’s tomatoes. Since Italy produces vast quantities of tomatoes every year, it is amply used in the making of Italian dishes. Italy has over three hundred types of tomatoes available; everything from cherry to Pomodorino, Principe Borghese, Beefsteak, and San Marzano, Italy has it all. Tomatoes can be used in making soups, sauces, salads, pizza, gazpacho, and more.  

3. Cheese

Cheese has a very special place in the Italian cuisine. Italian food uses a variety of cheeses in its dishes and each once lends a unique taste to the dish. Mozzarella cheese is commonly used for pizzas; Parmesan is used for risotto and pastas; Pecorino and Burrata are used in salads; while Mascarpone can be found in desserts.


4. Basil

Basil is one of the most commonly used herbs in the Italian cuisine. Both, professional chefs and homeowners plant the herb in their gardens so that they have fresh basil available to use in their dishes. One of the most famous Italian dishes, the pesto sauce is prepared with basil.

5. Wine

A glass of wine is not only fun for sipping, it is ideal for cooking as well. Italians use alcohol to a variety of their dishes to add that extra punch of flavor. A dash of red wine in a bubbling Bolognese sauce can transcend the flavor altogether!

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a must-add ingredient to Italian sauces. They bring a hearty flavor and an earthy texture to the dish, along with being a great source of protein. Whether it is Portobello or Porcini, mushrooms tossed in pasta or added on top of pizzas can change the whole flavor.

7. Pasta

And of course, Italian cuisine is just not complete without pasta. Pasta is the pride of Italy and can be found in the majority of Italian dishes. The most common types of pasta found in Italian cuisine are spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna, fusilli, penne, pappardelle, and more.

If you’re craving some authentic Italian food, just come and visit us at Stancato’s. We’re an Italian restaurant based in Cleveland, Ohio and offer some of the best Italian food.