On Chopped, chef and judge Alex Guarnaschelli regularly tastes dishes made with a strange and random assortment of ingredients. But in her kitchen at New York City's Butter and at home, the food is gloriously, predictably delicious thanks in part to her well-stocked pantries. Here, Guarnaschelli reveals her must-have pantry staples.
“I like to chop them up really small and use them in surprising places, like in gravy for meat,” Guarnaschelli says. She will also add them to a savory cocktail mix with olives for an unorthodox martini. “The brine is awesome for that,” she says. “Plus, you can use it to make a simple vinaigrette—just mix the brine with olive oil.”
Smooth Dijon mustard
“It has to be Dijon,” she says. “It has a heat to it. It’s almost spicy, like chiles or ginger. Plus it has a natural thickening property.” She uses it to add both zing and body to sauces and vinaigrettes.