olives, cauliflower, artichokes, mushrooms, kitchen pantry, red peppers

Notes From A Well-Stocked Pantry

There’s more than a few cabinet essentials that should always be within reach in your kitchen.

By Paesana

Olives, pasta, and other cooking ingredients

When you throw open your pantry doors, do you see a seemingly endless crop of cans and jars or do you peer into the vast emptiness of an ill-supplied kitchen repository?

Chances are, if you grew up in an Italian-American household, your kitchen has always been well stocked with supplies that can be opened and eaten at a moment’s notice. No matter if the stockpile is meant to feed unannounced guests or if it's your own personal treasure trove of treats, a pantryful of goodies is essential to being a well-prepared and well-fed person.

No matter if the pantry supplies are condiments, side dishes, or something more substantial, ensure your goods are “the goods” by keeping the best quality possible on hand. 


It’s hard to overstate the value of multiple jars of high-quality olives. They are delicious as the ideal enhancement for a vast assortment of meals, in cocktails, or all by themselves as taste-tempting snacks. The key is to keep superior caliber olives in stock—this instantly elevates snack time and adds culinary flair to many different recipes. 

Click here for a selection of Paesana’s premium olives!

But what are the best varieties of olives? For starters, there’s Castelvetrano, a mild and subtle Sicilian olive with a tender bite that gives way to a creamy interior. The pitted varieties of Castelvetrano olives are especially good for snacking or incorporating into a recipe like chicken thighs with lemons and potatoes. However you enjoy them, get ready for a gently rich and buttery flavor from these pale-green fruit-like morsels. 

Moving through the olive array, we come to Cerignola. Enormous in size and flavor, these olives are salty-sweet with a supremely buttery texture that pairs beautifully with hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or mild and creamy mozzarella with some Genoa salami thrown in for good measure. 

Finally, there’s the distinctly deep purple and almond-shaped Kalamata olives. Cured in red wine vinegar, Kalamata olives are tight-skinned and snappy, imparting a light, fruit flavor with a rich and smoky essence.

Pickled Cauliflower

Cauliflower isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite vegetable, but treated in the right way, this pale and highly beneficial plant is one of the most flavorful vegetarian options available. 

In its pickled form, cauliflower bursts with garden-fresh herbaceous aromatics that add spice to salads and a pleasantly sour punch to an antipasto arrangement. Pickled Herb Cauliflower is a choice side dish for braised or roasted meats, adding a touch of acidity to compliment the robust succulence of the main course. 

For an additional kick of pungency, Garlic Herb Cauliflower brings a slightly peppery flavor to the herb-soaked vegetable morsels. Another perfect addition to antipasto, Garlic Herb Cauliflower adds depth and a zesty twist to mealtime. 


Mushrooms are as close as the earth gets to producing meat straight from the ground. With a wide variety of mushrooms available any given time, mushrooms are always a fantastic choice to elevate a recipe or, when pickled, to eat straight from the jar. 

Country Garlic Mushrooms match the earthly offering with dynamic flavors of the ultimate aromatic, garlic. This combination harmonizes with soft and supple mushrooms and finely chopped garlic in a highly satisfying mouthful of extreme flavors. For a strikingly sharp flavor, it’s hard to beat balsamic vinegar—and Italian Balsamic Mushrooms maintain the signature earthiness while adding that signature sharpness. The sweet and tart delicacy of Balsamic seeps into bite-sized mushrooms for a flavor profile that matches any gourmet meal. 

Mushrooms are as close as the earth gets to producing meat straight from the ground.

For the addition of a sweet and smoky char, go for the mix of Portobello Mushrooms & Roasted Peppers. This is the ideal condiment for sandwiches, as it elevates each bite of Italian cured meat and sharp cheese. It’s a blend of flavors you’ll be glad you stocked up on. 

Roasted Peppers

Ingredients don’t get much more versatile than roasted red peppers. A must-have component of antipasto spreads, a bringer of depth to sandwiches, a flavor enhancer of grilled chicken or sausage, and a salad’s tasty best friend—roasted red peppers make an immediate impact to most any dish. 

As such, your pantry should always have a jar of fire roasted red peppers. With flavor boosted by the roasting process, red peppers add zesty vitality to everyday meals. As for snacks meant for friends or just for you, dress roasted red peppers with olive oil and basil for a sweet and smoky bruschetta or simply eat them as is with a pinch of salt and black pepper. 

Brighten the peppers and add even more depth of flavor with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. The fire-kissed char already transforms the peppers’ texture and flavor—and that transformation is heightened with the addition of fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Having a jar of fire roasted peppers in garlic and olive on hand is your kitchen’s secret weapon against banal meals.

Marinated Artichokes

Fresh artichokes are one of nature’s greatest gifts to the culinary world—but, to be honest, sometimes we love the jarred, marinated versions even more. From spinach-artichoke dips to salads to pasta dishes, there are so many ways to incorporate this flavorful vegetable into mealtime. 

A jar of Paesana’s Marinated Artichokes are a stellar addition to antipasto salad, crostini, dips or even your list of favorite pizza toppings. Marinated artichokes are packed with oil and herbs, bestowing the essence of an Italian garden upon all dishes it touches. Go even deeper into the artichoke bud with a jar of Paesana’s Marinated Artichoke Hearts, for a light flavor that’s comparable to celery or even young, fresh asparagus. 

Much like standard artichokes, marinated artichoke hearts are integrated seamlessly into many recipes. The flavor plays well with mozzarella as a pizza topping, but it also comes alive when sautéed with brown butter and capers before being poured over baked fish or roasted chicken. 

Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Capers, & Pignoli Nuts

Rounding out the list of crucial cupboard ingredients are sun-dried tomatoes, capers and pignoli (pine) nuts. Paesana’s Sun Dried Tomatoes are packed in oil with a garden-fresh flavor that enhances salads with an intensely sweet and tart flavor. The acidity is also the perfect way to cut through the savoriness of dishes like sautéed chicken thighs. 

This incredibly versatile ingredient is equally at home in sweet and savory dishes.

Moving on to capers—or as we like to call them “little flavor balls”—a small jar goes a long way to add intensity to a long list of Italian favorites. Paesana’s 8 oz. jar of Imported Capers are Mediterranean-fresh, sun-dried for peak flavor, and pickled in vinegar. Impart a unique tangy zest to dishes like the classic Chicken Piccata and Spaghetti Puttanesca.

And finally, there’s the mighty and tiny Pignoli—or pine—nuts. This incredibly versatile ingredient is equally at home in sweet and savory dishes. Paesana’s Pignoli Nuts in particular boast a buttery texture and are the go-to ingredient for pesto and salads, along with sweet treats like cookies, biscotti, and cake.

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