6 Great Ways to Use Olive Oil

So many great dishes start with olive oil. Here are just six more creative ways to put this versatile oil to use

"Naked Pasta"

Change up your usual tomato sauce. Cook and drain pasta, reserving some cooking water. Drizzle pasta with olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. If needed, add a little of the reserved pasta water to get a slightly saucy consistency. Add shredded fresh basil leaves and toss to coat. Try this recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.

Olive Oil Sundaes

This may sound odd, but it makes ice cream extra creamy: Drizzle top-quality extra-virgin olive oil over vanilla or strawberry ice cream, then add a pinch of kosher salt. Amazing!

Divine Dressing

From-scratch salad dressing is easy, and the taste is amazing. In a screw-top jar, shake together olive oil, an equal amount of vinegar (e.g., balsamic, or red or white wine), a little mustard, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. If you want, add minced fresh garlic and/or shallot, chopped fresh herbs, or a little bit of honey.

Zippy Dip

Stir together equal amounts of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Then dip away with bread or crackers.

Infused Oils

Heat a little olive oil in a pan over low heat. Stir in your favorites -- lemon, orange, or lime zest; crushed red pepper; a halved fresh chile; basil leaves; rosemary; or even a little bacon fat -- and cook until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Use it immediately over pasta or as a dipping sauce. For a stove-free edition, try this recipe for Infused Olive Oil.

Pesto Saver

Before refrigerating homemade pesto, add a thin layer of fine virgin olive oil on top of the sauce after putting it into a jar. The oil can help the pesto maintain its green color.