Parmesan is one of the star cheeses in Italian cuisine where it is called Parmigiano Reggiano. Also widely used in France, we do not always know how to choose its refining according to the dish that we are preparing. We share with you some tips for choosing it well.
Parmesan goes with everything generously on pasta, in gratins, risottos, and of course sprinkled on pizzas. Protected by an AOPit is the guarantee of using a cheese that has been produced according to very precise specifications… And if the French are major consumers of this pressed and cooked pastewhat they don’t always know is that depending on how it matures, the parmesan will give off really different flavors. It would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Moreover, the great Italian chefs never cook with a single Parmesan but with four or five that they select according to their final use.
In a salad or as an aperitif: a young parmesan
The minimum ripening period for Parmesan cheese is 12 months. It is therefore the youngest that you find on sale. Between 12 and 16 months of ripening, you have in your hands a soft paste with vegetal notes reminiscent of grass or flowers. Its flavor is sweet and tangy. It is eaten uncooked, as an aperitif, and goes perfectly with all types of tomato sauce.
Risottos and Caesar salad: a parmesan with character
Refining between 20 and 26 months brings some balance to Parmigiano-Reggiano. And the more the months pass, the more intense it becomes and then oscillates between sweet and salty flavors. So if you want to bring out the taste of parmesan, go up in the duration of its refining. If you hesitate, opt for a 24-month-aged parmesan cheese. For example in a Caesar salad if you want to give it a little more character than with aging between 12 and 16 months. Moreover, its consistency becomes more crumbly and grainy. This is what makes it very interesting in slow cooking dishes such as risottos.
Carpaccio, white pizza, bolognese pasta: an increasingly powerful parmesan
Between 27 and 34 months of ripeningthe parmesan begins to reveal its scents of dried fruits. It becomes very friable and it is then perfect in shavings placed on a Bolognese sauce or a carpaccio, or even a white pizza, that is to say without tomato sauce. Knowing that you don’t cook your parmesan on a pizza! Aged for more than 34 monthsthe dough becomes increasingly firm, more crumbly with a strong olfactory intensity. Its color also changes from yellow to amber. It has scents of spices and smoky notes when it matures for more than 45 months… In short, it’s the Rolls-Royce of Parmigiano Reggianoand we eat it as it is, so good!