Which olive oil is better for pasta, extra virgin or pure?

I've been using extra virgin olive oil for pasta such as aglio e olio, but I heard that it's better to use pure olive oil when it comes to pasta.

  • Posted by: PARK
  • January 20, 2021


Battle2 June 22, 2023
An additional tip is to try to get the ones that are bottled in a dark glass container. Sunlight oxidizes the oil so coming in dark brown or dark green bottles the better.
Lori T. January 20, 2021
I've heard both arguments, and both have their valid points. It really comes down to what your budget can handle, and what your own taste buds prefer. I make a cold garlic infused oil myself, using a good quality extra virgin oil, just so I don't have to make this kind of call. When I want to make this particular dish, the oil can be poured over and tossed with the hot pasta, without risking degradation. It takes time and patience to make the garlic infusion, but it lasts a long while in the fridge and is ready to use when wanted.
gandalf January 20, 2021
Your cold garlic-infused olive oil sounds interesting. How do you go about making it?
Lori T. January 20, 2021
I'll gladly tell you how I make it. I peel a couple of heads of garlic and coat them lightly with regular olive oil. I bake them with a foil cover that I pokesteam holes in at 350F until they are soft. Once out of the oven, I let them cool to lukewarm, and then mash them to a pulp. The pulp goes into a 1 liter bottle and then I fill the bottle with extra virgin olive oil. That goes into a nice dark, cool spot (basement) for the next month to six weeks. Every few days I give the bottle a shake, and start tasting at the 4 week mark. When it's as strong as I like, I filter out the garlic pulp, transfer the oil back into the bottle and store that in the fridge until I want it. The olive oil will firm up, but you can always melt it in warm water or scoop a bit out to suit the need. I know I said cold infusion- but I do not mean just plop the garlic in cold oil. The risk of botulism is too high for that- and the bacterium live in the water content of the garlic. So baking allows you to kill that off, and steam off a good bit of the water. The pulp can be frozen in ice cube shapes to use in cooking as well. No waste, unless you just want to toss it.

I also like to make a sort of confit of garlic to keep on hand for times when I want to use roasted garlic. I peel the cloves of several heads of garlic and slow roast them in a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, until they are nice and soft. Then I pour them, cloves and oil together, into a glass refrigerator storage container. When I need the cloves, it's easy to fish out what I need. Then you just spread the olive oil back over the rest of the cloves. The oil that comes with a clove is nicely flavored, of course - and eventually you do end up with a certain amount of garlic infused oil. It will have bits in it, of course- but if you don't mind that, it's entirely usable as it is.

gandalf January 20, 2021
Thanks so much! How long have you kept the infused olive oil in the refrigerator? Also, after the infusing process, is there a reason that you couldn't keep the olive oil on the shelf (i.e., non-refrigerated) as one normally does with an oil (if there is no pulp in the infused oil)? Just curious.
Valhalla January 21, 2021
Warning: garlic should not be stored in oil. This is a serious botulism risk!
Lori T. January 21, 2021
Garlic which has been cooked, ie roasted, is perfectly safe to store in the refrigerator covered in olive oil. The botulism you are concerned about will have been killed by roasting at 350F and removing most of the water from the cloves. Raw garlic should not be stored in oil, nor should it be left at room temperature, though. I generally keep enough on hand in the refrigerator to last me a couple weeks. The rest is stored in my freezer. Botulism needs water, low acid, and low oxygen, as well as favorable temperatures. It cannot reproduce or produce the toxins at correct freezer temperatures of 0 degrees F.
PARK January 22, 2021
Thx for ur answer :)
All I need to care about is only my budget lol.
Nancy January 20, 2021
Some people say extra virgin is best used without heat or cooking, as in salads or as a garnish.
They prefer to use a lesser grade (plain virgjn or pure) for cooking.
Others like extra virgin on nearly everything.
I've never heard a rule on this.
Maybe just use what you prefer, can afford and/or have on hand.

PARK January 22, 2021
Thx for ur answer :)
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