Lidia Bastianich's Favorite Italian Olive Oils That Are Always In Her Pantry - Exclusive

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Who better to ask for olive oil recommendations than restaurateur Lidia Bastianich? With eight cookbooks (and counting!) to her name, the culinary icon has built her career on Italian American recipes like Mussels Triestina or Home-Style Lasagna — both of which require some trusty extra virgin olive oil. It's a given that Bastianich reaches for Italian oils, though her choices vary by recipe; as she told Tasting Table during an exclusive interview, "Every region makes olive oil, and they are different." Particularly, she mentioned using Ligurian olive oil for fish and salads to oils from Tuscany for a spicier flavor.

The television star just filmed her newest PBS special, "Lidia Celebrates America: Flavors That Define Us," to highlight that point: food from different regions — like olive oil — brings many beautiful different flavors to the mix. But if you're looking for a good Italian olive oil, Bastianich recommends you first check that it's authentic. "If you want Italian, check that it is an Italian product and that it's not Moroccan oil bottled in Italy," she said.

Grab Olitalia on your next grocery run

Lidia Bastianich expanded upon the flavors of her favorite oils, which may help you decide whether they're right for your cooking. "I like the Ligurian oil, which is light and buttery, and the North Lake oil," she said. (A bottle of Ligurian oil can actually be purchased on Amazon, but it is a bit on the pricier side.) The culinary entrepreneur also explained that the middle of Tuscany offers a more peppery olive oil due to its higher amount of polyphenols — powerful antioxidants with claimed anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the National Institutes of Health — while the southern part of Italy is known to opt for vegetable oil for soups, vegetables, and tomatoes.

But if hunting down all these regional oils seems like too much effort, there is a name brand that Bastianich tends to reach for on store shelves. "Olitalia is a great oil, and it's pretty [widely] distributed," she said. Olitalia is an Italian company that focuses on oils and vinegars, with everything from the classic extra virgin olive oil to organic oils to oils specifically designed for meats and pastas. Amazon, Eataly, Walmart, Albertsons, and more specialty supermarkets are all known to carry the brand — so head to the store and consider giving it a try when you're ready to cook up some classic Italiano!

"Lidia Celebrates America: Flavors That Define Us" airs on May 30 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on PBS and will be available for streaming on PBS' website and the PBS app.