How to cook like an Italian

What to have on hand:EVOO


Continuing with our list of essential items to have on hand in an Italian kitchen, next up is olive oil, or as Rachael calls it, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). This will become one of the more critical ingredients in your new Italian life as you will use it for both cooking foods and straight out of the bottle on things like salads and breads. Some say EVOO has healing qualities-did you ever see Lorenzo’s Oil with Susan Sarandon? One thing is for sure, it is a healthy alternative to butter (not that we don’t love butter but that’s for the Northern Italians) and if you get a good kind, the taste is delicioso.

Olive Oil is made by crushing, then pressing ripened olives and extracting oil from them. The first pressing of the olives produces the purest and most intensely flavored oils with the lowest acidity, but the next few runs through the press also create lighter but flavorful oils. This all happens to olives that look nothing like the ones you buy in the store. You either buy green or black olives, called Sicilian or Kalamata, for example, that are usually stored in some kind of brine or salt. These olives would not taste so good if they were not cured, but once they are, they take on a variety of flavors-some more bitter than others. For a milder olive, you can try the canned black olives that are not only ripe, but they have been pitted and the bitterness has been removed. These guys taste almost buttery and are a good introduction to the olive for a child. I still remember putting one on the tip of each finger and playing olive hands! Then of course there’s the pimiento-stuffed olives that also bring me back to my childhood (remember olive loaf?).

It all starts with the tree. The Arabs brought the fabled Saracen olive tree to Sicily, but beautiful olives grow all throughout Europe and the Middle East in a variety of colors and sizes. Luscious greens, deep reds and blacks all represent different kinds of olives and different stages in their lives. Some argue that the best olive oils come from Spain, some say Italy. You do need to make sure you get your oils from a reputable sources because some companies will label their oils as “Italian olive oil” simply because the product passed through Italy on its way to America. We happen to love Rachael’s EVOO made by Colavita.

Here are some of Rachael’s dishes using good EVOO:


Caprese Sticks


Insalata Tre Colore

Eggplant Caponata

15 Responses to “What to have on hand:EVOO”

  1. Rachael recently made a salad with butter beans, unfortunately I can’t remember the dressing she used anyone help?

  2. Sherry Crane says:

    I’m watching the show and see that there are give aways for online. Can’t find anywhere to click onto this, can you please help me. I’d love Rachael’s new bowls, or anything else that might be given away today. Need to know how to do this.
    Thanking you in advance,
    Sherry Crane
    Vernon, NJ

  3. Raechel Schultz says:

    Please tell me where I can buy a big wooden spoon/scoop/ladle like was shown on the Rachael Ray show on Wednesday, July 2nd? Thanks.

  4. Kalley says:

    I recently went on a food tour in Greenwich Village in NYC and had a visit to an olive oil shop in which they told us that olive oil is not regulated by FDA and the olive oil is often substituted for cheaper oils. Anyone have any idea how to know that the olive oil you are buying is actually olive oil?

  5. dottie odonnell says:

    i just wanted to say u are the best 4 get what others may say, i saw ur biography , ever since my husband job was lost he was so bored i mean we cook together and all but he recently got dianosed with rhuemtoid artrithis and he couldnt do much , but u rach inspired him he does all ur cooking looks forward to th magazines i call him my rach, he s so busy he hardly notices his pain , thank u rachael you help us and taught us so much about fod from supermakets and how to cook better thank you so much love tony and dottie esparza eddystone pa xoxoxoxox

  6. joyce mondor says:

    I just love you rach.I am 74 yrs old & learning new things from you.You are soo sweet & down to earth.Love you lotsXo xo xo xo Joyce Mondor

  7. ellen olson says:


    I can’t wait to try the tuna steak pasta dish with cherry tomatoes that you showed on 7/7/08 or there abouts. It looked delicious. The one where you said, because it smelled so good that you could just jump into the pot, put pasta all around you and then eat your way out!!! Where is the recipe? Thanks for your help and keep on inspiring us!!


  9. Dick Schuler says:

    Please check out my web site i just released a new cook book. my 1st.

    An Italian Cookbook of Family treasures by Dick Schuler

    Hope you enjoy the simple recipes and my family history

  10. Christina Aguayo says:

    Hi Rachel , just want to let you know that we enjoy seeing your beautiful smile and wonderful personality daily in our home. You make cooking fun and you’ve also brought my mother and i alot closer. She enjoys your show. Keep on being you.
    your fan-
    Christina Aguayo

  11. alicia says:

    My husband is allergic to olive oil, is there anything I can substitute for it.

  12. Eptisam arebi says:

    Hi rachael, i see yuor show ever dad and i relly like it , i would like u to tell me abut your diet , and how to cook healthy food.
    luv u

  13. Hi Rachael,
    I’m looking forward to some good healthy meals for the winter months. My husband is finally getting into eating healthy “about time”. I love watching your show, you make cooking look fun, it makes me want to try everything that you make and my husband loves to be a ginniy pig. Thanks again Brenda

  14. oshinekhalid says:

    i wanna to lose weight as to be 40 kg in this month iam 15 years old ,height 166 and weight is 60 iam a beard shape like . please help me

  15. 6Shooter says:

    Maybe someone can help me? I have an old can of olive oil that is over a year old. It was opened but barely used. What is the proper way (i.e. environmentally appropriate) to dispose of this EVOO? Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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