You can make your recipes stand out with these chef-approved Italian ingredients. The best part? You can have the Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box for free!


This article is sponsored by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West as part of the “Extraordinary Italian Taste” campaign


Anywhere you go in the world today, very few things are a sure bet, culinary speaking: Russians know their vodka; Germans know their bratwurst; French know fromage and love their beaujolais; the British know their beers, while Italians…. what do Italians know?

We know food (and we know pasta, of course). We know life. We love people. And when you put these three passions together, you always get people to smile, because they remember the time spent over there, in Italy, when all they did was walk, eat, smile and talk to people.

I am a journalist, and there is not a single day that I am not asked, “How do you do it?” Followed by “Why do people in Italy seem to be generally happier?” And finally, “Where do you eat a real great Italian meal?” and also, “Why are you here?”… but that is a whole another story.

Chef Luigi Fineo of Osteria Venice West with the Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box

Quality, Simplicity, Tradition

Well, I thought about it and the answer to all of these questions seems to lie in three words: quality, simplicity, and tradition. We learn—at an early stage—to cook by simply watching mom & grandma, and from there we understand that the least you mess with your food, the better it is. We also learn to rely on simple, flavorful ingredients, the quality of the products, and we learn to respect and accept seasonality… In Italy, you get the best watermelon ONLY in July-August. Not like here in the States where you can get it 24/7/365.

READ MORE: The Best DineLA Deals for Italian Food (Summer 2017)

Some say we have mastered the art of making great food out of simple flavors. But the reality is that there is no secret, and you don’t need special skills. Anyone can whip up a great meal with a few basic ingredients. Ingredients that any self-respecting Italian has in her pantry. And we are talking the basics here: pasta, rice, tomato sauce, extravirgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

It’s all in the “Red Box”: The Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box

Here at Foodiamo, we’ve always believed that simple, high-quality ingredients make all the difference. That’s why are happy to join the Extraordinary Italian Pantry promotion organized by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West, in collaboration with Market Hall Foods. For a limited time (July 23 to August 2, or until supplies last), you can get the exclusive Extraordinary Italian Pantry “RED BOX” for free when making a purchase on Market Hall Foods e-commerce platform.



Think of the Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box as a “little piece of Italy”, containing these great products straight from Italy:

  • Rustichella d’Abruzzo Trofie pasta
  • One bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • One Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
  • One jar of Masseria Mirogallo Tomato Sauce
  • Principato di Lucedio Carnaroli Rice

With these ingredients, you too can have a ‘little piece of Italy” in your own home, to prepare a pasta, surprise your guests, or invite your girlfriend to a home-cooked meal.

The Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box at Osteria Venice West

But if you don’t want to take my word for it, come with to Osteria Venice West in Venice, California, a casual Italian trattoria right off the Venice Beach boardwalk. We asked Michelin-starred chef and owner Luigi Fineo what you can do with these ingredients… and some imagination.

He prepared “trofie alla povera“, meaning “poor man’s trofie,” a simple, yet delicious dish made with basic quality products. And yes, he’s a chef, but as you can see it’s extremely easy to make. Just watch him prepare his trofie alla povera and write down the recipe. Also good as a vegetarian solution.

The Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box at Estrella, West Hollywood

As a second leg in our tour of LA-based chefs, we went to Estrella Restaurant, in West Hollywood, to visit James Beard-nominee Mirko Paderna, who previously worked at Officine BRERA and Culina. An all-Italian boy from Milano, whose love for pure and simple flavors is as important as his respect for the textures and nuances of each ingredient, like, in this case, the Carnaroli rice that he picked from our Extraordinary Italian Pantry box.

Mirko walked us through the simple intricacy of a “risotto alla milanese”, made with just Carnaroli rice, parmigiano reggiano, a little butter (batt-eu) —Jack Pepin style— and zafferano (saffron). The most important thing he told us, when making risotto, is to let it rest for a couple of minutes just before the final mantecatura (man-te-ka-toura). This allows the starch and butter to become one with the dish.

The final touch is a roasted and well-seasoned ossobuco, filled with delicious bone marrow, placed just in the center of the risotto. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.

That’s it. Done. Let’s eat and do not forget… IT IS OK TO LICK YOU FINGERS.

Now Get Your Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box!

Now you only have to get your own red box and start cooking! Again, the Extraordinary Italian Pantry Box is free of charge when you place an order of any value on Market Hall Food website between July 23 and August 2 (or until supplies last). Click here to get more details and request the box.

The promotion is part of the Extraordinary Italian Taste campaign, founded and championed by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and rolled out by Assocamerestero, in collaboration with 9 Italian Chambers of Commerce between North America and Mexico, including our friends at the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West in Los Angeles. This campaign aims to counter the “Italian Sounding” phenomenon, i.e. to promote real, made-in-Italy products and support small Italian food and beverage producers.

The promotion is for a limited time only, so order your red box today. Then make your own recipe with those ingredients and send us a video or picture of your dish!