Basil leaves garlic pene,spghetti and cherry tomatoes

Five Essential Ingredients For Italian Cooking

Italian cooking is more of an event than a process. Combining skills, experience and a true passion for good food, traditional recipes and fresh ingredients.

The ingredients used during the preparation of a meal are vital and sourcing the right ingredient is often a make-or-break situation.

There are a whole host of ingredients many will tell you are vital in order to cook like a true Italian.


Here at The Italian Kitchen, however, we have put together a brief list of the 5 most essential ingredients for true Italian cooking.

Five Essential Ingredients For Italian Cooking


1: Olive Oil

Olive oil

We simply couldn’t talk about essential Italian ingredients without focusing on arguably the staple of Italian cooking; Olive oil.

Finishing off an Italian dish with a generous glug of olive oil is a basic requirement at this stage. Not just for the taste though, olive oil has great health benefits and helps keep that heart young.

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in fatty acids and held reduce inflammation as well as prevent arterial plaque. It’s basically a prescription for wholesome, healthy & delicious food!

However, not all olive oils are created equal. There are a few different varieties and it’s important to know what you’re getting for your buck!


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Only oils that come from the first pressing of olives (normally within 24 hours of harvesting), are chemical free, extracted without the aid of excess heat and mechanical means and must be fatty acid free or less than 0.8% in acidity. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade and best tasting olive oil.
  • Virgin Olive Oil: Virgin olive oil also comes from the first pressing but must have an acidity level of less than 2%. Therefore slightly inferior to Extra Virgin. While still high quality, the flavour may be milder than Extra Virgin oils.
  • Refined Olive Oil: Refined olive oils have used agents such as acids, alkalis and heat to extract as much oil as possible from the olive pulp that remains after the first pressing. This results in a much fattier and acidic oil severely lacking in taste and aroma. Oils labelled as “Pure” or “Light” olive oil by major brands or supermarkets are generally just refined olive oils.



2. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar adds a rich, sweet tang to your Italian dish.

Originating in Italy, balsamic needs to be aged for 12 years before it is considered an official balsamic vinegar of Modena.

Not only does it pack a flavoursome punch to your food, but it has a number of health benefits also, such as:


5 Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar:

  1. Helps lower cholesterol
  2. Aids in healthy digestion
  3. Supports weight loss
  4. Can improve your skin
  5. Improves blood circulation



3: Garlic

Head of garlic and purple cloves

Garlic is an absolute staple of any dish I make. How would you even prepare a meal without garlic? It makes everything better!

Best thing since sliced pan? Please. You know what’s better than bread? Garlic bread!


Garlic is delicious, infuses beautifully with any dish and is used throughout Italy. This pungent little bulb also has its own health benefits, which is a trend beginning to appear with a lot of classic Italian ingredients!

Garlic contains allicin which has been found to help blood vessels relax so blood can flow more freely, prompt blood vessel formation and it prevents blood platelets from clumping together.


What did we ever do to deserve garlic?



4: Oregano


Oregano, the shining star of many a pizza, pasta dish and tomato sauce. I simply cannot serve a good pasta or pizza without going full Salt Bae with a generous pinch of oregano!

Just like everything else in this article, oregano has a list of health benefits of its own. Along with disease fighting antioxidants, oregano also aids against inflammation and can lower your sodium intake.


Quite a number of studies suggest that using herbs and spices helped people cut out about 1,000 mg of sodium from their diet daily.


5: Wine

Red Wine at the Italian Kitchen

Great to cook with or you know, just drink while you cook!


Wine adds a lot of flavour to your meal. Add a splash to a sauce, use it to deglaze the pan, or just sip while you stir! The heat cooks the alcohol away so you’re just left with the flavour.

Forget about all these “cooking wines”. If it’s not good enough to drink then why would you put it in your food?

Keeping the trend alive, wine has a lot of benefits including heart benefits, reducing cholesterol and safeguarding blood vessels.


As with any alcohol though, enjoy in moderation. There are plenty of health benefits to drinking wine but it’s also easy to over-do it. Less is more on this occasion.



There you have it, the Italian Kitchen’s quintessential top 5 ingredients to cook like an Italian!


However, you could save yourself all the hassle and simply pop down to the finest Italian restaurant near swords, where we source our ingredients straight from Italy’s best and most authentic suppliers.


The Italian Kitchen is one of the finest Italian restaurants in Dublin, boasting fine Italian wines, fresh ingredients and top class chefs.


Book yourself a table today and experience the most authentic Italian food outside of the mediterranean!


To book a table online now visit or call: +35318711255

The Italian Kitchen at Clayton Hotel Dublin Airport, Stockhole Lane, Swords, Co Dublin