Earlier this month I attended a webcast with that led by olive oil expert, Dr. Luisito Cercaci. We compared six different types and flavors of Pompeian Olive Oils and learned the differences between them. Prior to this tasting session, I hadn’t realized how different each oil could be. Once you are actually tasting them and comparing the color as well as the flavor to one another, you can really see which types stand out to you the most and what they would be paired with in the most complimentary fashion.
We were shown how to “warm up” the oil in our hands. One hand goes under the cup, the other on top and you just rub it for a few minutes to warm up the flavors so they really show up during the tasting. Then you swirl the oil around your tongue, to really get a feel for the body and taste of each oil. Some were stronger than others, with a variety of flavors. This method helps the flavors to stand out, and during testing this can help identify any defects in the flavor.
I discovered that I rather enjoy both the Classic Olive Oil and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but they are each used for different reasons. The classic olive oil has a higher smoke point, so it’s better for cooking, while the extra virgin olive oil is wonderful for dressings and marinades. Since I wanted to make a pasta salad with a pesto salad dressing, the Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil was the oil of choice. I look forward to sharing more of what I learned in the coming months with different recipes and flavors that I plan to show you. If you missed my previous recipes with Pompeian Oils and Vinegars, check out my Lemon Chicken with Capers and my Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad with Orange-Honey Vinaigrette.
This month I decided to do a super simple pasta salad. We’re getting into the really warm summer months, so I wanted to provide you with an easy side dish to serve for picnics, party, cookouts and barbecues. This is a great option to replace those creamy pasta salads with, as sometimes they don’t sit well in the heat for hours. It’s got very few ingredients and it’s so easy to just throw together in a matter of minutes!
Pasta Salad Ingredients:
- 1 (20 ounce) package mixed cheese tortellini
- 4 quarts water
- 1-2 tablespoons Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 (3.5 ounce) package sun dried tomato halves
- 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
Pesto Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 bunch of basil leaves, stems removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Begin by preparing the pasta according to package instructions. Bring the pot of water to a boil, add the tortellini and extra virgin olive oil, boiling over low for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
As the pasta is boiling, put together the pesto sauce. Add the basil, garlic and pine nuts to a food processor, pulse until coarsely chopped.
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What’s your favorite pasta salad?