Herbs, Spice & More

Truffles, Tartufo
Mushroom used by itself as garnish for a variety of dishes, also used to infuse oils, specially the white variety to make dressings or simply to top finished dishes with an elegant earthy taste.
Horse-radish, Rafano or Barbaforte
Nasturtium armoracia, root used to prepare sauces or thin julienne cut to be added to it.
Lemons, Limoni
Used to accentuate the flavor of meats specially when grilled, similar effect to using salt. Also part of many desserts and drinks, the essence of Limoncello.
Anchovies, Acciughe
As some of the cured meats, anchovies are also used to flavor sauces and soffrittos. Substitute for salt since the Roman times, which they made Garum, a fish sauce of fermented anchovies and a few other fishes. Anchovies are a intrinsic part of the Putanesca sauce for pastas.
Cheeses, Formaggi
Another classical flavoring ingredient for many dishes in Italy, including a variety of them on desserts. Used as topping, also used to make pasta sauces, specially with tomato based sauces. Mascarpone cheese is greatly used on desserts, key ingredient on Tiramisù.
Olive oil, Olio di Oliva
Oil extracted form olives by pressing them. The color of the oil indicates the stage of ripeness, green olive gives a deeper green color, while the ripe olives have a more of a golden color. The first press of the olives, usually a cold press method will yield Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Uses include marinating, sautéing and to finish dishes and perfect for salad dressing.
Balsamic Vinegar, Aceto Balsamico
The reduction of cooked grape juice is known as Balsamic Vinegar, not a vinegar in essence. Used on vinaigrettes and flavoring agent for meats and a number of desserts, very versatile item on a kitchen.
Wine, Vino
Used in a good number of recipes, mostly involving meat and fish by reducing it along a soffritto or with stocks. Also used in sauces and desserts. Don’t cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink, forget about cooking wine from the stores.
Wine vinegar, Aceto di Vino
Ingredient of a great number of dressings and marinates for stew dishes.
Cured Meats, Salumi
A good number of chopped cured meats as flavoring agents are used with a mirepoix to start a soffritto, like pancetta, mortadella, guanciale, sausages and many others alike. Imparts a deeper flavor specially to longer cooking methods like braised dishes and a few pasta sauces like Carbonara.
Tomato paste, Concentrato di Pomodoro
Concentarted tomato pureè or paste. Another flavoring agent for sauces, stews and braised dishes.