Every Italian kitchen should have at least two types of extra virgin olive oil on hand: a very flavorful, high quality oil and a lighter, good quality oil. Why not just go with the flavorful, high quality oil? Well, the higher quality, less refined extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point (the temperature at which it begins to smoke), so when used in higher heat cooking, the oil will burn and become rancid. For this reason, your high quality oil should really only be used on salads, for bread, or drizzled on cooked meats, pasta, and soup.
The smoke point of a lighter, more processed extra virgin olive oil can be more than twice that of the higher quality, unadulterated oils, so most of your cooking can be done with this oil. Sautéeing and roasting are great with this lighter oil.
The only time when a lighter olive oil is not the right choice for cooking is when deep-frying or using extreme high heats. A light sunflower oil is a great alternative. It has the highest smoke point, and will maintain your food’s flavor at high temperatures.