If you open my freezer you will see lots of chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano carefully arranged like sardines in a tin to ensure that I can fit as many as possible.. sometimes I wish I had a second freezer.
Before flying back to the UK from Italy I always plan ahead how much Parmigiano I will need until the next time I am back. Very often my luggage is opened at customs because of the volume of cheese in it!
There is no way I can live without that magic touch that only Parmigiano Reggiano can give to my pasta, risotto, soups and bakes.
Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced since 1200 in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua.
It has no additives added and the milk is produced by cows fed only grass grown in the place of origin together with natural feeding. Definitely an excellent product!
I am a huge fan of Parmigiano not just because I am Italian and I grew up with it; it really is a great product to introduce into your diet with many proteins, lots of calcium and vitamins. I can confidently call this a superfood in the right meaning of the word.
This is why I could not miss an evening dedicated to Parmigiano in London which was presented by Eleonora Galasso, a popular food writer and author who wrote the book “As the Romans Do”. Eleonora comes infact from Rome, although she divides her time between Paris and Rome. Her love for food and her deep passion for Roman dishes is infectious.
Eleonora prepared a few simple, delicious Italian dishes all made with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Eleonora is a very charismatic woman, I smiled when she said: “In Italy we treat food like people”, referring to the fact that you should not wrap your Parmigiano in cling film. This cheese, like most cheeses, needs to breathe in order to keep well, just wrap it in kitchen paper to avoid it getting moldy (and this is what I always do).
Parmigiano should be stored in the fridge or in a cool “cantina” (cellar) if you have one.
The dishes I tasted were:
Parmigiano Reggiano courgettes fritters, crunchy and flavourful with a refreshing flavour of mint leaves
Aubergine rolls with Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta and hazelnuts. I thought this was a brilliant idea for an easy and tasty antipasto.
Savoury profiteroles with Parmigiano and chicory cream
Spaghetti with lemon, pepper and guanciale and lots of Parmigiano on top
Do you know what guanciale is? It is a type of Italian cured pork made from the cheeks of a pig. It is very tasty indeed. The dish had pepper corns added which gave a real kick to it. I love pasta dishes with a bit of spice in them.
Finally savoury cantucci biscuits with olives, Parmigiano and pine nuts. A very interesting way to use Parmigiano! I made savoury biscuits with Parmigiano before but never like these ones. Well done Eleonora!