The Food52 pantry has arrived! This is how it all started


Sebastian Sardo is not a fan of whole-wheat pasta. It’s hard to find a good one and even when you do, it’s not very good. So Sardo, the brand manager of Food52 Pantry, made it his mission to find a producer of delicious pasta that had the nuttiness and texture of whole-wheat pasta with the pleasant taste and all-around appeal of regular pasta. The result is Food52’s slow-drying pasta, which includes bucatins, busy, linguine, Penne, pici, spaghettiand tortiglioni. These six elements are part of the Food52 Pantry Collectionwhich will officially launch on Thursday, September 22.

We wanted to start with a few fundamental ingredients that can be part of people’s daily cooking and go from there.

Amanda Hesser

The collection has been in the works for over a year. Sardo joined Food52 after a six-year stint as a food buyer for Eataly USA. His first task was to whittle down a list of over 500 wishlist ingredients to a handful that Food52 could source, produce and sell in our shop. The result is 45 pantry staples, including extra virgin olive oil (one everyday version and one for those extra-special recipes), four varieties of flour (all-purpose, bread, cake, and pastry), three types of plump canned tomatoes, four kinds of California-grown rice, an assortment of balsamic and sweet white vinegars, oats, baking chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, and condiments. “We wanted to start with foundational ingredients that can be part of people’s daily cooking and go from there,” says Food52 founder Amanda Hesser.

Since 2010, Food52’s philosophy has been to create a community around a shared love of cooking, Hesser explains. It made sense to offer great ingredients for great cooks. “Ingredients are an essential part of your cooking experience and the results of your dish. It was such a natural connection to provide our community with a premium line of products that they can use every day,” she adds.

I felt so jazzed up by the harissa. Its flavor is electric. You’re going to want to put it in everything.

Amanda Hesser

With nearly four dozen carefully selected products, how does one pick a favorite? You can’t, really, but there are a few ingredients that stand out. “I felt so jazzed up by the Harissa. Its flavor is electric, it’s layered, complex and interesting. You’re going to want to put it in everything,” says Hesser. What makes our harissa so special are two ingredients in particular: extra virgin olive oil and candied lemons. “It is very rare to find this combination on the market,” adds Sardo.

Another must-have? Dry pasta, in all forms. We have the ones you know and love like linguine, spaghetti and penne, as well as very special shapes like busy and tortiglioni. “Pasta shouldn’t be something you just throw in boiling water and is there to serve as the base for a delicious sauce. It’s as much a part of the dish as the sauce. Ours really accomplishes that because it’s very high quality,” says Hesser. The pasta is made, in part, with wheat germ, which gives a nice nutty flavor that you can’t get with flour alone. When you hold our pasta, you’ll also notice the texture – it’s not entirely smooth like the boxed varieties you find at the grocery store. That’s thanks to the bronze dies, through which the pasta is extruded, giving it an intentional rough feel and making it particularly good at searing sauce (Sardo adds that most generic pasta is poured through teflon, which strips the dough of any and all texture).

Also stock up on our baking chocolate – having had the opportunity to taste all five varieties, I can tell you they are a cut above the rest. As a white chocolate skeptic, Our Grilled White Chocolate is unlike anything I’ve tried before and then good. Its golden hue and sweet caramel flavor will lend itself perfectly to some of our favorite recipes, such as Caramelized white chocolate and toasted milk cookies and Malted white chocolate cake sheet. It is also a snack; Sardo gave me a sample to take home and it disappeared at dusk.

The Food52 pantry is here! Let us know which pantry staples you’re most looking forward to buying in the comments below.

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