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Usually if I'm sauteeing some veggies or cooking with olive oil I will use a cheaper bottle, but if I am making a dressing or a dish where the oil really stands out I will go with a bottle from a specialty shop. I am making pesto for the first time and wondering which way I should go.

  • It's really a toss up ... if you want more of the olive oil flavor coming through, you'll want an extra virgin ... but if you want the basil and other ingredients standing out, you go with the cheaper stuff (unless the cheaper stuff is spoiled or has other off-flavors, and that's why it's cheap) – Joe Jul 21 '17 at 18:02
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It doesn't need to be "expensive," but it should be extra virgin olive oil, not just regular olive oil. You don't cook a pesto, so the flavor of the olive oil will definitely stand out. Also, when buying/storing extra virgin olive oil, always go for a dark bottle and store in a cool dark place, as the oil is sensitive to light (just like beer or wine).

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The one you already own.

And then you make a small quantity of pesto so to taste it, learn it, understand it. This way you can decide which way you want to go, and choose oil accordingly.

It's not a matter of the price itself, but of the taste that it adds to the pesto, and the taste you want for your: it's your kitchen and your food :-)

  • Agreed ... until you make it once so you know what it tastes like, you won't know how to adjust it (or if it even needs adjusting). – Joe Jul 21 '17 at 18:03

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