Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many different types of cooking.
It's most famously associated with Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Its first use dates back to 2500 BCE, where it was used for lamp fuel and religious purposes in the Mediterranean.
There’s a lot of questions floating around about olive oil, and we’d like to tell you everything the Italians know.
Read further to learn more about this interesting ingredient!
- What is Olive Oil?
- What is Olive Oil good for?
- Why is Olive Oil Bad for You?
- Does Olive Oil make you fat?
- How Healthy is Olive Oil when Cooking?
- How to make Olive Oil Pasta Sauce
- Spaghetti aglio e olio ingredients
- Spaghetti aglio e olio directions
What is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a liquefied fat made from olives. Olives are picked from olive trees found in the Mediterranean or other subtropical climates. After picking, the olives are then cold pressed down until they extract an oil. Olive oil producing is most commonly used for cooking purposes.
You may have heard the term “Extra Virgin Olive oil”. Extra virgin olive oil refers to the way that the oil is processed. Extra virgin is considered an unrefined oil, meaning that the oil is untreated and very pure.
Unrefined oils packaged in a glass bottle are usually the best quality. Unrefined oils are also the most common that are bought and sold.
What is Olive Oil good for?
Olive oil has an almost endless list of uses. Most common uses of olive oil are for cooking. You can use this oil for salad dressings, marinades, sauces and even soups.
Olive oil also has some health and cosmetic uses. It’s a great moisturizer for skin hair and nails and well as chapped lips. You can find this oil as a listed ingredient for soaps, shampoos, skin creams, lotions and sometimes even make up removers.
Olive oil is gentle on skin and has antioxidant properties. This means that it prevents oxidation. Oxidation produces free radicals, which are harmful chemicals that damage cells and may lead to health problems. By applying oil to the skin, it reduces free radicals and prevents signs of aging.
Health wise, some use this oil to relieve symptoms of constipation, ear aches and arthritis.
Experts who have studied oil from olives claim that it contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Among these compounds is one called “oleocanthal”. Olecanthal has very similar effects to ibuprofen, which is why oil is sometimes used to treat arthritis.
This type of oil also has a rich history in religions around the world and has historical significance to most cultures. It has been used for anointing, blessings, special ceremonies and even oil lamps.
Why is Olive Oil bad for you?
When paired with an unhealthy diet, olive oil can be more damaging than beneficial. Oil from quality olives is high in fat and in vitamin E and K. When paired with a conscious diet it can be beneficial.
High quality olive oil is a key element in diets like the Medterrain diet. This diet shows great health benefits and weight loss benefits.
Some experts claim that including olive oil in your diet can provide a variety of health benefits.
These benefits include:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Heart health aid
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Better digestion
Does Olive Oil make you fat?
Like most things in life, when enjoyed in moderation olive oil does not contribute to weight gain. Oil from olives possesses a fat-dense composition, which makes it loaded with healthy fats like Monounsaturated fatty acids.
When consumed in moderation, Oil from olives can leave you feeling satisfied for longer after eating. However, consuming too much may cause weight gain. Experts recommend consuming no more than 2 tablespoons a day to reap the benefits oil from olives provides.
How healthy is Olive Oil when cooking?
When cooking olive oil, it’s very easy to add too much to your dish! At Dagostino’s we like to think less is more when it comes to award winning decadent olive oil.
When cooking, add small amounts at a time until you achieve the texture or consistency appropriate for the dish.
In terms of health, oil from olives is a great source of healthy fats!
Experts recommend consuming no more than 2 tablespoons a day. However, when you are cooking a recipe, it’s okay to add a bit more than 2 tablespoons. This is because the total amount of oil will be distributed throughout the dish. Therefore, the oil content will be much lower per serving.
How to make an Olive Oil pasta sauce
The most simple way to make an oil based pasta sauce is to mix pasta water, olive oil and seasonings together. Some add a bit of flour and butter while cooking to make the sauce rich and thicker in consistency. Adding flour and oil is an easy addition, but it’s not always necessary.
A very common dish with an oil sauce is spaghetti aglio e olio. Spaghetti aglio e olio literally translates to spaghetti with garlic and oil. It’s a very simple dish that’s always a crowd pleaser.
The following recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and make 4 servings.
Dagostino’s Spaghetti aglio e olio pasta recipe includes:
- Dagostino Spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Red pepper flakes, to taste (we recommend ¼ of a teaspoon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- Fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Spaghetti aglio e olio directions:
- First, take a large pot and fill with water, put on high heat. Bring water to a boil and salt generously.
- Add Dagostino’s Spaghetti to boiling water and cook according to package instructions (or until al dente and tender).
- Add garlic and oil into a skillet. Slowly stir and toast garlic on medium heat until garlic is golden brown and oil is bubbling (about 15 minutes).
- Once browned, remove from heat to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Stir in cooked pasta, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into oil mixture until fully combined.
- Top with parmesan cheese and serve!
Olive oil is a very important element in food, health, cosmetics, religion and culture. As you can see it’s extremely versatile and is widely consumed. In recent years, the global consumption of this oil is about 3.1 million metric tons.
At Dagostino’s we pride ourselves on our extra virgin olive oil. Our oil is first press and cold-extracted from the best Sicilian olives. The olives are hand-picked from October to December each year. Golden yellow in color with olive green tones, the scent of fresh olives and a fruity flavor with almond aftertaste.
To create an authentic Italian appetizer, you can pair our oil with our house 12 year Balsamic vinegar and seasoning to create a rich bread dip.
We hope this guide helps elevate your next dinner.