What Are the Best Tips for Making Pasta with Olive Oil?

M. Kayo

Olive oil has a wonderful quality which allows it to carry the flavor of other foods, herbs and spices while providing a pleasurable and satisfying sensation of flavor and texture in the mouth. Making pasta with olive oil will provide a satisfying level of robust, flavor-boosting qualities. It can be drizzled onto cooked pasta or pasta salad to enhance and deepen the flavors, herbs, spices, vegetables and meat in the pasta dish. To make a flavorful pasta with olive oil, take the hot pasta directly from the pot using a ladle-type strainer and drizzle olive oil, some pepper flakes, and garlic on it while still hot. Let the hot pasta sit and absorb the ingredients for a minute or two before serving.

Containers of olive oil.
Containers of olive oil.

The types of flour for making pasta are unbleached white flour and seminola flour, a traditional pasta flour with a coarser grain than unbleached white flour. This seminola flour contains a lot of gluten which makes it durable and elastic, able to hold many different shapes of pasta. Seminola flour makes a very stiff textured flour that is more difficult to work with. To make pasta, one can combine one part seminola flour with four parts unbleached flour and use a pasta machine. Then one can add a tablespoon (about 15 ml) of olive oil to the mix for extra flavor.

Fresh garlic can give pasta a great flavor.
Fresh garlic can give pasta a great flavor.

One of the best tips for making the best pasta with olive oil is proper preparation. Always use a generous amount of boiling water, about 4 to 5 quarts (3.8 to 4.7 liters) in a large pot. The large pot allows for the complete immersion of long pasta like spaghetti. The large amount of water washes away extra starch coming from the pasta as it boils. Add about 1 to 2 teaspoons (about 5 to 10 ml) of sea salt Remember to stir the pasta for the first two or three minutes or the pasta will stick together and form clumps of stuck-together pasta.

Olive oil is great for cooking a variety of things.
Olive oil is great for cooking a variety of things.

Do not add olive oil to the water in which the pasta is boiling. Some folks believe this will keep the pasta from sticking together. Doing this will also make the pasta oily on the outside and keep other ingredients like sauces, spices and herbs from sticking to the surface of the pasta. Adding olive oil to pasta while cooking yields a pan full of flavorless pasta. Instead, add extra virgin olive oil to any pasta dish just before serving it for a last minute burst of flavor.

Olive oil should be added to pasta after cooking it, not while it is boiling.
Olive oil should be added to pasta after cooking it, not while it is boiling.

Pasta with olive oil is a healthy alternative to foods prepared using unhealthy saturated and trans fats. Even though it may be high in fat, the healthy fats found in olive oil are monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and are actually healthy when used in moderation. MUFAs normalize blood clotting, benefit insulin levels, provide blood sugar control, and lower overall total cholesterol levels as well as bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

A pasta fork can be useful for serving the pasta slick with oil.
A pasta fork can be useful for serving the pasta slick with oil.

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Discussion Comments

Chmander
Even though olive oil can be very expensive one way to get around this is to buy the largest bottle when you go to the store, and keep that for about a year or so, only using it for "essential" food. For example, you could use a different kind of oil while making scrambled eggs, but switch back to olive oil if you're making something that's more "gourmet", per se.
Euroxati

The one thing that I enjoy most about olive oil is its flavor-like qualities, something which the article also states. Unlike other brands, such as the generic vegetable oil, which are merely used to heat the food up in the pan and start the cooking process, olive oil definitely enhances the flavor. I mean, when you really think about it, why else would so many Italians use it in their cooking? Also, as RoyalSpyder said, it's great to use as a "dipping sauce" of sorts for bread(s).

RoyalSpyder

Even though I really enjoy using olive oil, one thing I'm surprised that the article didn't bring up is how expensive it can be. In fact, overall, that's one of the main reasons why I buy cheaper brands of oil.

However, going back to this article, I still enjoy olive oil when I can, especially when I go to restaurants. It's great to use in breads and other delicacies. As the article also states, it's a very healthy alternative to some of the other oils out there, such as butter and margarine.

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