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Even cook Ina Garten reaches for some convenience foods now and again to pull together a super quick dinner. Her go-to pantry staples aren’t unlike what most regular folks have on hand when there’s no time for a grocery run.

Ina Garten at Sesame Workshop's 13th Annual Benefit Gala 2015
Ina Garten | Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

Ina Garten has the perfect dinner in her pantry

During a September 2020 interview with Food & Wine, Garten dished on some of the ingredients she always has at the ready in her refrigerator and pantry.

Garten said her pantry is always stocked with pasta sauce and pasta because it means a quick meal can always be put together.

“Because you have to make dinner every night, and you can’t always go shopping,” Garten explained of having the convenience items in her pantry. “I like to keep shopping to a minimum, so if I have a lot of pasta sauces and pastas, I can always make dinner.”

She explained why her favorite pasta sauce brand is Rao’s in a 2018 interview with Bon Appetit. “I think you can spend the entire day making good marinara sauce, or you can buy Rao’s Marinara sauce, which I think is just fantastic,” Garten said. “It’s great for lasagna. It’s great for pasta. It’s great for putting together a really fast dinner.”

Garten also shared how she doesn’t love the taste of fresh pasta, so having boxes of noodles works perfectly. “I have basically two categories of pasta,” she explained. “I most often used De Cecco pasta, which I think is really good quality. I’ll use any shape, like fusilli, penne, bow ties, whatever I’m in the mood for.”

She continued, “But for a really luxurious dish, I love Cipriani Tagliarelle. It’s basically linguini. It tastes like fresh pasta, but better (I don’t happen to love fresh pasta. I find it, very often, a little too doughy for me). It cooks in three minutes, and it’s just fabulous. I use the Tagliarelle with Urbani’s white truffle butter — it’s a really easy dish.”


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Ina Garten likes to keep this pantry item in the refrigerator

Garten also shared one surprising ingredient that most people keep in a cupboard or pantry but that she keeps refrigerated: vinegar.

She explained to Food & Wine, “For anything I’m making, if it has like a little splash of vinegar, it just gives it an edge and wakes everything up.”

“And I keep them in the fridge,” she added. “I know a lot of people keep them in the pantry. I might take hell for this, but I just find that they don’t develop bacteria in the fridge.”

According to The Vinegar Institute website, vinegar doesn’t require refrigeration.

“The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration,” their website explains.

Further, the site shares, “White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used and enjoyed with confidence.”