The Role of Olive Oil in Italian Cuisine

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The Role of Olive Oil in Italian Cuisine

Oh, the tantalizing aromas of Italian cooking. Spaghetti bolognese, crusty garlic bread, chicken cacciatore—yes, please! But did you know that one of the reasons that Italian food is so delicious is because of one secret ingredient? It’s true and probably an ingredient you have at home in your pantry. It’s olive oil. And it has a big place at the table when it comes to Italian cuisine.

Why is Olive Oil so Important to Italian Culture?

Perhaps you have swapped out butter in favor of olive oil in recent years, thanks in part to the desire for many Americans to embrace healthier cooking.  While there are more calories in olive oil than butter, olive oil is much lower in saturated fats. So, it is better for your body, and it tastes so good it won’t jeopardize the flavor of your meal. 

However, in Italy, olive oil holds a special place in hearts all over the country, and not just because of its flavor or health benefits. The olive tree, known as “l’olivo” in Italian, has deep roots in culture and history. In ancient times, olive branches symbolized peace and olive oil was used to light lamps and for medicinal and religious purposes.

Today, this tradition lives on, with olive oil being a staple in Italian cooking. Its use not only enhances flavors but also bridges modern kitchens with centuries-old traditions and history.

Different Types of Olive Oil

Have you ever noticed that there are different types of olive oil? It may cause you to scratch your head in wonder as you stare at the grocery store shelves. Which one should you get? Here are the primary differences between your options.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): The top-tier olive oil, famous for its rich, fruity taste and peppery finish. Remember Rachael Ray? She made EVOO a kitchen staple. Perfect for salads, grilled veggies, and pasta.
  • Virgin Olive Oil is less refined than EVOO and has a milder flavor. It is great for low-heat cooking, dressings, and marinades.
  • Olive Pomace Oil: Extracted with heat and chemicals, this oil is ideal for high-heat cooking like sautéing and frying. It’s a practical choice, though it lacks the robust flavor of virgin oils.
  • Light Olive Oil: A blend with a mild flavor, this oil is perfect for baking and recipes needing a neutral taste. Despite its name, it’s not lower in calories.
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Add a Little Olive Oil to Your Next Italian Recipe with Viga Catering!

If you want to savor authentic Italian cuisine, visit Viga Catering. Enjoy a delizioso meal made with the finest ingredients, cooked Italian-style by those with roots in Italy. It’ll knock your socks off and inspire you to try new recipes at home. Contact us at 617-482-1112 to experience the best of Italy today!