Giada De Laurentiis' Tips for Stocking Your Pantry

I may be a chef and TV host, but at the end of the day I’m also a working mother who needs to get dinner on the table fast. By stocking your kitchen with the right essentials, it’s easy to cook like a pro and impress your family and friends in the comfort of your own kitchen. Bon appétit!

Stock the Pantry: Most families are good about stocking the freezer, but sometimes overlook the pantry.

Fill the Pantry with the Basics
There are a few pantry staples that can come together to make a variety of delicious dishes. I always have the following favorites on hand:
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
An assortment of different shaped dry pasta
Canned cannellini beans
Dried spices like Herbs de Provence
A variety of jarred pasta sauces

Pastas and jarred sauces are a great blank canvas for a quick meal. I created an affordable line of unique pasta and sauces for Target inspired by my Italian heritage and my favorite recipes. The sauces include real tomatoes and fresh vegetables, so they truly taste homemade. Take my Giada De Laurentiis for Target Vegetable Primavera sauce ($2.99) and add my Giada De Laurentiis for Target Whole Wheat Penne Pasta ($2.79) and you’ve got a delicious dinner in a matter of minutes.

Fresh Ingredients
Fresh produce leads to an even tastier dish. For vegetables, try fresh, raw fennel. I love its clean flavor. A few of my staples – garlic, lemons, and fresh herbs. Fresh herbs impart more flavor to a dish and can sometimes help minimize how much salt you need to use. Lemons add a nice bright, citrus flavor, not to mention a great aroma.

Beyond Marinara
Marina sauce is always a crowd-pleaser, but for a fun change of pace I like to rotate in pestos. Pestos are a perfect topping to sandwiches, fish or steak. They also add a flavorful twist to baked potatoes and vegetables. When I am crunched for time to cook dinner, I love my Sun Dried Tomato Pesto from Target – it’s sweet, chewy and slightly nutty. I toss it with hot pasta, spoon it into minestrone soup and spread it on sandwiches in place of mayo.

My Kitchen Must-Haves: To make quick and easy meals, you also need the right tools. Check out my three must-haves from my Giada De Laurentiis for Target collection:

Good knives are the backbone of the kitchen. I have a 14-piece knife block in my Target collection, but if I had to choose only one I’d go with my Mezzaluna Knife ($19.99). It’s lightweight and the ergonomic handle helps it stay secure in your hand. Placing your hand along the top ridge of the blade makes it ideal for quick mincing, chopping or dicing.

My hand-held Stainless Steel Pasta Scoop is one of my favorite products. The smaller shape makes it perfect for scooping pasta directly from any sized pot. Rather than draining the water, the scoop makes it easy to reserve pasta water to add your sauce as needed.

Try my stovetop Panini Grill Pan for a fun and delicious twist on the everyday sandwich. Steaks, chicken and veggies are tasty grilled on the stovetop, too!

Visit to view Giada’s entire Target collection, along with a few of her favorite recipes.

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