Follow our guidelines on how to use these popular Italian ingredients.
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The quality of olive oil is classified by the level of acidity, taste, and aroma. Olive oils higher in acidity can be rectified, or treated with chemicals to lower the acidity, but are called refined, not virgin.
Olive oil has the same amount of calories that other oils contain -- 120 calories per tablespoon. But olive oil is highly unsaturated and has been suggested as a healthier alternative to more saturated fat or oils. Additionally, olive oil is a highly flavored oil, so you can use much less than oils with lighter flavors.
To begin, separate a few fresh cloves of garlic and slice them thinly. Then slice your aromatics like onion, shallots or leeks. Add a little olive oil to the pan and heat it over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add your onion and garlic and lower the heat to medium. Give the pan a little stir and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add a generous pinch of pepper flakes for heat. While your onions cook, chop about 2 handfuls of fresh tomatoes or other vegetables. Add the tomatoes to the pan and give the pan a stir. Let the tomatoes cook to break down just a little bit. Then add your greens, about 2 handfuls of fresh vibrant greens like spinach, keel or mustard greens. Stir the pan again then add about a 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid or broth. This will help you sauce to get a little saucier and steam the greens. Generously grate Parmesan, or Reggiano or Pecorino cheese all over the top. The cheese will help bind your sauce to the pasta shapes.