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/ Source: TODAY
By Lyn Mettler

Star chef Ina Garten is a big believer in simplicity and ease. For example, the Barefoot Contessa thinks that there are only a small handful of kitchen essentials that every home cook should have.

When it comes to stocking her pantry, Garten applies the same school of thought and always has a few special high-quality items tucked away.

Bon Appétit recently peeked inside Garten's pantry and got the inside scoop on many things that she always keeps on hand, plus which brands she prefers.

Apparently, there's a lot you can learn about a person by looking at their pantry. Here a five things we learned from Bon Appétit's deep dive into her pantry.

1. She's been using the same brand of olive oil for at least 20 years.

Garten lists "good olive oil" in many of her recipes, from her updated take on classic chicken marbella to her tomato and eggplant soup. But the one that the Barefoot Contessa actually prefers to use is Olio Santo's cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, she told Bon Appétit.

Olio Santo California Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, $55 for two 17-ounce bottles, Amazon

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This item is also available at Stonehouse Olive Oil for $15 for one 17-ounce bottle and Williams-Sonoma for $40 for one 25-ounce bottle.

She also explained that she prefers olive oil from California because it has a fruitier flavor than the ones from Italy.

2. She likes to use three different kinds of salt.

“The one ingredient that most people use wrong is salt," Garten told Bon Appétit. "You also have to use the right one for the right occasion."

The Barefoot Contessa went on to explain that she uses Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt for cooking.

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, $13 for 3 pounds, Amazon

When she wants to finish a dish with salt, however, she goes with fleur de sel or Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, which she said gives a crunchy finish.

Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, $6 for 8.5 ounces, Amazon

3. Mixing mustards is her secret to a great vinaigrette.

Mustard is one of Garten's all-time favorite ingredients and she loves to combine Grey Poupon's classic Dijon mustard with Maille's wholegrain Dijon mustard.

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard, $5 for 8 ounces, Amazon

"The two of them together are great in vinaigrettes and sauces," she said.

Maille Wholegrain Mustard, $8, Amazon

4. There's one store-bought tomato sauce that she thinks is almost as good as a homemade version.

"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," she told Bon Appétit.

Rao's Marinara Sauce, $14 for 15 ounces, Amazon

She loves it in lasagna and with pasta and said it's perfect for putting together a quick meal.

5. She doesn't really like fresh pasta.

There are two pasta brands that Garten likes the most. Most frequently, she cooks with De Cecco pasta, which she described as "really good quality." She'll use any shape or size from this brand.

De Cecco Linguine, $3, Amazon

However, when she really wants to indulge, she reaches for Cipriani Tagliarelle, a thin pasta that cooks in about 3 minutes. Surprisingly, Garten actually prefers this dried pasta over fresh pasta.

"I don't happen to love fresh pasta," she said. "I find it, very often, a little too doughy for me."

Cipriani Tagliarelle, $8, Amazon

This item is also available on Jet for $15.

Garten said that she likes to toss the tagliarelle with Urbani's White Truffle Butter for a "really easy dish."

Urbani White Truffle Butter, $16 for 3 ounces, Amazon

Find out more of her pantry essentials by checking out Bon Appétit's complete guide to Garten's pantry.

Plus, since Garten has been a guest editor all week long at Bon Appétit, she revealed loads of other new great info to the brand, including her No. 1 cooking rule, her ultimate guide to hosting a stress-free Thanksgiving and her tricks for making a perfect baked Alaska.