Cooking magazines and food blogs are always weighing in on what staples should live in the cupboard of any savvy cook. You know the usual suspects: olive oil, vinegar, canned beans, chicken broth, pasta, and so on. A little basic for some of us. I’d like to add something—a whole genre really—to the list that I don’t normally see included.
I’ll call it stuff in tubes. Specifically garlic paste, tomato paste, pesto paste, and anchovy paste. (I guess the genre could also accurately be called “pastes.”) Maybe you scoff that you’ll just always have fresh garlic on hand, but the law of probability says you may come up short at some point. You can pull together a pizza in a snap with these tubes in hand, not to mention jazz up an Italian dish in progress. Anchovy paste, in particular, brings the richest, earthiest, most umami flavor to your standard pasta sauce. I cook it up with the onions in the first step.
Then the tubes live in the fridge ready at a moment’s notice to bring flavor to your kitchen. You can get them at most grocery stores. I snag mine at Rodman’s in D.C.