Immediately, cooking teacher Jennifer Clair offers us a super-simple recipe for lemon pasta, however to ensure that it to be elegant versus simply satisfying, it wants actual Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Within the following article, she explains why that is so essential.
Let’s start with some clarifying vocabulary: “Parmesan” is a mode of cheese (like “cheddar” and “mozzarella”) and “Parmigiano-Reggiano” is the world’s finest number of this cheese, solely produced in Italy, completely in Bologna, Modena, Parma, and Reggio Emilia. Its moniker is “the king of cheese,” and that’s no hyperbole.
Nearly the whole lot in Italy is completed with a recent grating of Parmesan, besides spicy meals and seafood dishes (strive asking for cheese to prime one in every of these dishes in Italy; it’s greater than possible that they are going to flat-out refuse you). It’s candy/salty/nutty taste is an simple taste enhancer to so many savory dishes.
However there’s a huge distinction between Parmesans produced domestically (and in some non-Italian international locations, like Australia and Argentina) are these from components Italy’s famed Emilia-Romagna area. To know the variables, I’ve highlighted the classes wherein Parmigiano-Reggiano excels over its Parmesan friends:
Time: Most Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged for two years or extra (home variations are possible 6 months to a 12 months). This extended getting old course of not solely helps develop the cheese’s tell-tale nutty and salty flavors, it additionally helps create stunning, crystalline clusters inside the cheese (a change of milk proteins), which provides crunch and character. For Parmigianos aged for three years (referred to as “stravecchios”), it’s higher to nibble it in craggily chunks as a part of an appetizer or antipasto platter, so that you get the complete advantage of its textural superiority.
Purity: Two phrases: “wooden pulp.” Final 12 months, that’s what meals scientists discovered blended into tubs of pre-grated home Parmesan cheeses offered within the grocery store. I suppose timber are cheaper than cheese, however while you purchase a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano, there isn’t a room for such flimflammery. Simply 100% pure salty goodness. Go away these inexperienced foiled-wrapped canisters on the non-refrigerated cabinets.
Oversight: Like with so lots of the EU’s prized foodstuffs—champagne, aged balsamic vinegar, San Marzano tomatoes, prosciutto di Parma—there are particular consortiums in place to control their manufacturing so they’re constant of their superior high quality. Parmigiano-Reggiano is one in every of these “protected designation of origin” meals (typically labeled DOP), that means it could solely be referred to as “Parmigiano-Reggiano” if its manufacturing follows the rigorous requirements set forth by the consortium that oversees it. This consists of strict guidelines for the placement of the dairy farms and the food plan of the cows that present the milk; the burden, measurement, and coloration of the cheese wheels; the getting old size; and its ultimate texture and aroma. That’s the reason each wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano you purchase is persistently scrumptious.
The Rind: That is the way you, the buyer, will inform that the cheese you’re shopping for is true Parmigiano-Reggiano: Each large wheel of cheese is stamped with the phrases “Parmigiano Reggiano” over each inch of the rind, so irrespective of how small a bit of cheese you’re shopping for, you will notice a few of the letters of the identify. With out it, it isn’t the true deal. Additionally, save the rind! As a result of the rind is of course shaped throughout the getting old course of, it’s utterly edible. That doesn’t imply it has an amazing texture (it’s arduous and a bit waxy), however it’s filled with taste. Slip it into your subsequent vegetable soup, pot of white beans or chickpeas, or a simmering tomato sauce, to lend a saltiness richness. It gained’t soften, so simply fish out and discard earlier than serving.
Blocks of Parmigiano-Reggiano have a really lengthy shelf life (often a 12 months after its minimize, attributable to its low moisture content material). It needs to be saved within the fridge in a container that permits it to breathe (like a plastic tub or glass container), and positioned in plain sight, because you’ll wish to seize it to season your dinner as typically as you possibly can.
natural lemons, juiced and zested
cup extra-virgin olive oil
cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and extra for serving
pinch Salt and pepper
pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
massive recent basil leaves, thinly sliced
Go to Recipe
We initially revealed this scrumptious and oh-so-simple pasta recipe in April 2018, however we’re giving it one other go. Why? As a result of it is summer season and what higher dish to eat than a pointy, tangy tacky pasta dish that is as vivid and vibrant because the late July solar. Share your favourite summer season dishes within the feedback beneath.