Walk into any well-stocked supermarket or, better yet, a gourmet grocery, head down the oil aisle, stop at the section where olive oils can be found. What do you see? Rows upon rows of what the ancient Greek Homer once called “liquid gold.” There are countless brands from all over the world. Cold-pressed, extra virgin, imported, small-batch are all descriptions of what you can find on bottles of olive oil. But how do you know if you’ll like it? Well, you can take a guess: eeny, meeny, miney, moe your way down the aisle and see where you end up. You can play process of elimination: buy a bunch, try ‘em all, choose your favorite. Or, go with a brand you trust. If you’re a fan of Ponte wine, guess what? We have our own olive oils.
With our Italian roots, we don’t play around with certain things – wine for one and, also, olive oil. So when we decided to offer our own blends to our guests, we knew they had to be among the best of the best. Out of this mindset, three blends were born that we’re sure you will love:
Ponte Tuscan Blend – This bold flavored blend of Tuscan olives, with notes of pepper, grass and herbs springs life into mild flavored dishes. Use it to marinade seafood or drizzle over grilled vegetables.
Ponte Arbequina – Made from Spanish Arbequina olives, this oil has a fruity aroma and a rich, buttery finish. We like Arbequina for cooking and as a finishing oil for white pizza, soups and vinaigrettes.
Ponte Mission Blend – Blended from California varieties of olives, Mission Blend is the classic partner to balsamic vinegar. Drizzle them together over sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves.
I confess, I am an olive oil-junkie. To me, there is nothing better than snacking on some good, crusty bread dipped in fruity, green extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar while sipping on a glass of red wine. But, when I’m craving something a little more substantial, I can always rely on this simple yet satisfying recipe:
Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic
- 1 lb fresh spaghetti
- 1/3 cup Ponte Arbequina Olive Oil
- 4-5 large cloves garlic, sliced very thin
- ¼ tsp dried chili flake
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss in a small handful of kosher salt. While water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil, garlic and chili flake in a small skillet on low heat. You want the garlic and chili to slowly infuse the olive oil. Be careful not to brown the garlic slices. When the garlic is soft and the oil is flavored, turn off the heat. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until done, usually 2-3 minutes for fresh pasta and around 10 minutes for dried pasta. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and drain pasta. Put drained pasta into a bowl and pour olive oil mixture all over and toss. Add reserved pasta water if you need more moisture. Toss in Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley and toss again. Serve with extra cheese. Enjoy with Ponte 2010 Pinot Grigio.
If you want other great recipes using olive oil, check out Olive Oil: From Tree to Table.
–What is your favorite way to use olive oil?