Special Report

35 Pantry Essentials You Should Never Be Without

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11. Tomato paste

Tomato paste enriches tomato sauce, of course, but adds texture and flavor to sauces, soups, and stews of all kinds.

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12. Canned tomatoes

Buy chopped tomatoes in cans, with or without basil, or purée the whole ones in a blender or food processor for instant tomato sauce for pasta or pizza or (diluted) for tomato soup. (San Marzano tomatoes from Italy are considered the ultimate example.)

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13. Anchovy paste

Even if you don’t like anchovies, you’ll be surprised at the subtle non-fishy depth of flavor a bit of the paste adds to soups, stews, pâtés, and many other dishes — even those based on meat.

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14. Peanut butter

It’s not just for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Peanut butter makes an instant snack spread on crackers, apple slices, or celery sticks, and also adds a delicious new dimension to such dishes as curries and marinades for chicken.

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15. Honey

A great alternative sweetener (the Greeks stir it into yogurt), honey also has a number of surprising medicinal properties. Among other things, it helps soothe sore throats, tamps down acid reflux, even relieves burns.