What cheeses do Italians eat with pasta?

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Pesto Alla Genovese

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As Daniel lays out in his guide to making pesto alla genovese, this sauce originates from the Ligurian city of Genoa and its environs. Its rich green color and tantalizing aroma is due to the fistfuls of basil that get pounded into the sauce. The only other ingredients are olive oil, nuts (usually pine nuts), cheese, garlic, and salt. Grab a mortar and pestle for the best results, or use a food processor for the quickest version. Then use the sauce to dress pasta and any of your favorite vegetables.

Pesto Alla Genovese

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Beddo

The people of Biella, located in the Piemonte regi

The people of Biella, located in the Piemonte region, traditionally ate this semi-fat cheese during festivals. Artisans used raw milk from Oropa Red-Spotted cows native to the Biella area. Its flavor is full and intense, and Beddo usually ages for 8 to 15 days. People also eat it fresh, but when it matures, Beddo smells like herbs. Its aged in traditionally built rooms constructed from natural and stone walls.

Protected by the Slow Food Foundation, cheesemakers craft it in copper cauldrons where the cheese is left for 12 hours and then heated. Cheesemakers make Beddo cheese all year round.

Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa (Apulian Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe)

Sasha Marx

A product of Puglia’s cucina povera, or “poor cuisine,” this dish relies on ingredients that are inexpensive and easily accessible to the people of the region, like broccoli rabe and breadcrumbs made from stale bread. We start by quickly blanching the leaves and florets of the broccoli rabe, helping them tenderize while keeping their color, and then putting them to the side. The orecchiette is then cooked in the same liquid while garlic, anchovies, and chile flakes cook in olive oil. These three components are finished together and topped with the breadcrumbs instead of cheese—an ingredient that was historically expensive for use in cucina povera—for a satisfying mix of bitter, peppery, and savory flavors.

Get the recipe for Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa (Apulian Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe)

14. Taleggio

Instagram: savourandgrace
Instagram: savourandgrace

Originally from the Taleggio Valley, from which it takes its name, between Lecco and Bergamo in Lombardy, Taleggio DOP is a square cheese made of cow’s milk and has a soft crust and a sweet, slightly aromatic taste.The cheese has been produced since the High Middle Ages, when it was important to preserve excess milk and was stored in the valley’s caves.The combinations are countless. It melts perfectly, making it suitable for first courses, risottos in particular. It goes very well with pumpkin, radicchio, and mushrooms and is excellent in quiches, flans, and pies. It goes well with polenta and baked pasta and it is perfect for fondue. It is also delicious on its own.

5. Pecorino Romano

Credit: @locatellicheese_official on Instagram.
Credit: @locatellicheese_official on Instagram.

In Latium you can find the unmistakable Pecorino Romano DOP, which is also loved internationally. One of the oldest cheeses in Italian history, it was the staple food for the Roman army and is still produced following the same recipe.

It is a hard, cooked cheese, produced with fresh sheep’s milk, and is characterized by a particularly aromatic flavor. It has a cylindrical shape with flat faces and differs from the equally well known Sardinian Pecorino due to its salting. The latter, in fact, has a much shorter aging period, not exceeding 4 months.

Pecorino Romano is the master of the table, easy to digest, with a long shelf life, and can be enjoyed on its own or with broad beans, fruit and honey, but above all, with traditional Roman first courses such as spaghetti alla carbonara or cacio e pepe.

The final say

When sampling an Italian cheese for the first time, be on the lookout for cheeses: Denominazione di Origine Protetta, DOP for short. Translated, this implies a form of certification that the product is locally grown and packaged, thus ensuring its authenticity.

For whoever wants to tell you that you are eating too much cheese, get rid of that person…you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life! Grazie per aver letto!

The Proud Italian

The sauce

The easiest way to appreciate this condiment is with short pasta like penne, rigatoni or gnocchi. To prepare the sauce for 4 people, grate 1 cup Gruyere, 1 cup Parmigiano and dice a ½ cup of Taleggio and a ½ cup of Gorgonzola. Pour 1 cup of milk into a saucepan and while the pasta or gnocchi is cooking in salted boiling water, heat the milk over a low flame with the cheese and 1 tbsp of butter, stirring until the cheeses dissolve. Once you strain the pasta or gnocchi al dente, pour them into the pan with the sauce and mix well until they are completely covered.

Types of soft Italian cheeses

The types of soft cheese that we will be delving into are:

Burrata

This beautifully soft cheese has its origins deeply rooted in the south of Italy, in the murge plateau. It has a creamy and milky-textured explosion in your mouth. Typically, it is a cow’s milk cheese made by using mozzarella and cream.

The best ways of enjoying it:

  • As a more luxurious alternative to mozzarella in pizza and pasta dishes.
  • Pairs well with sliced fruit such as peaches and figs on platters.
  • An addition to the perfect indulgent omelet, by adding the burrata a few minutes before serving.
  • Creating the best toasted tramezzino ever!

Mascarpone

One of the favorite types of white cheese there is on the market.  It comprises a soft, spreadable texture that is best enjoyed fresh. A specialty all the way from the proud Lombardy region in Italy. Also, it is versatile enough in that it can be used for sweet and savory dishes alike.

The best ways of enjoying it:

  • A decadent alternative to frosting for cakes and cupcakes.
  • Substitute for making banana bread and muffins that require sour cream.

Mozzarella

A low sodium cheese that can be white and off-white in color, depending on the diet of the Italian buffalo it originated from. It is made by using the pasta filata technique. This method implies that the fresh curd is kneaded in hot water. It comprises high moisture content and is, therefore, best enjoyed a day after being prepared for the best flavor.

The best ways of enjoying it:

  • Make your next risotto one for the books by adding mozzarella.
  • Add mozzarella and some of its juice to a blender, add lemon juice and spices to taste and puree until a lump-free, smooth consistency is formed. Use this then as a base for a yummy cheese sauce for veggies.

Ricotta

This is a whey cheese made from the leftovers of other famous Italian cheeses. The word literally means to be re-cooked. It has a delicately sweet flavor, and the production thereof dates as far back as the Bronze Age.

The best ways of enjoying it:

  • Use it as a savory tart base.
  • Add ricotta cheese to pancake dough for fluffy pancakes.

Stracciatella

Stracciatella is a cheese made from Italian buffalo milk and formally produced in the Foggia region in stunning Italy. When it is combined with cream, it makes burrata cheese. It is best not to refrigerate this cheese, as it compromises flavor and is best eaten fresh a few days after it was made.

The best ways of enjoying it:

  • You can make gnocchi at home that would make a chef jealous.
  • Can be served as a topping for vegetable fritters.

Toma Brusca (Castelrosso)

This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is an ancient a

This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is an ancient and rare semi-hard cheese. It originated in the Piedmont region and looks similar to Castelmagno. Toma Brusca has a mild, buttery, and lactic taste with a bit of a residual tang similar to English cheddar cheeses.

Cheesemakers craft Toma Brusca from rennet, whole cow’s milk, and milk and salt enzymes. It ages in cellars underground on shelves made from silver fir for approximately 60 days or more.

It pairs well with chestnut honey, quince chutney, red wines, polenta, black rye bread, and grape mostarda. Try this fondue recipe for a taste of Toma Brusca.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of Italy’s best cheeses. Of course, this list doesn’t cover all 600 kinds of cheese, but these cheeses illustrate just how serious Italians are at crafting the best cheese products.

What cheese are we missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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