For the Love of Cheese

I have a love of cheese. I don’t even know where it comes from because I’m actually lactose intolerant, but I LOVE cheese. I have a special guest post from Eileen, a new friend I made because of our mutual love of cheese. She recently went to a Parmigiano Reggiano cooking class at Eataly with the Consorzio. This was a sponsored event, but all opinions here are Eileen’s.

By Eileen Sully

Photo Credit: Leah Corker-Stark

Wedge To Rind

I attended a Parmigiano Reggiano cooking class at Eataly with the Consorzio in Boston last week to learn about the cheese and it’s history. I was surprised to learn that all Parmesean cheeses need to come from Parma, Italy or they are fakes. Parmigiano means simply “of or from Parma” and, likewise, Reggiano means “of or from Reggio.”

Depending on where they lived, cheese makers in the area between Parma and Reggio called their cheese Parmigiano or Reggiano. Eventually, the two terms were combined to form the name familiar to us now: Parmigiano Reggiano® cheese.

Parmigiano Reggiano is made with partially skimmed raw milk from cows fed only on the local grasses and hay of the place of origin. The milk is gently heated and, following the addition of rennet, coagulates to form curds, which are molded into large wheels and brined.

Other hard grating cheeses contain additives or are pressed, but these characteristics do not apply to Parmigiano Reggiano. Because the quality of the milk is high, Parmigiano Reggiano is suitable for lengthy aging, typically 18 to 36 months—longer than for most other types of hard grating cheese.

We sipped our wine and picked on the cheese, prosciutto and olive platter as the chefs prepared our first course, Potato Sformato with Parmigiano Reggiano Sauce. The creamy cheese sauce was served over a potato that was more like a cake.

Put On Your Apron

Next it was our turn to take our place and cook the risotto. The chefs gave us directions for each step as we added and stirred and stirred and added. After about 15 minutes, our risotto was ready to serve and eat. I must say that I was very impressed at how delicious mine was.

The main course, Tagliata di manzo con scaglie di Parmigiano Reggiano (sliced steak with shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano), was prepared by the chefs. We watched in amazement at how easy they made everything look as we sipped on our wine.

Lastly, we were served Torta al Olio d’Oliva e Gelato al Parmigiano Reggiano (Olive Oil Cake with Parmigiano Gelato). I would never thought to mix a cheese in gelato but it was A-May-Zing!

Our Wines

We had a different wine to compliment each course.

Antinori, Cervaro Della Sala, Umbria

Caves Cooperatives De Donnas, Donnas, Valle D’Aosta

La Stoppa, Macchiona, Emilia Romagna

Capanna, Moscadello Di Montalcino, Toscana

The Recipe

You can now enjoy the delicious risotto with the recipe below!

Risotto con brodo di Parmigiano Reggiano (Risotto with Parmigianno Reggiano broth)

Recipe courtesy of Eataly

YIELDS: FOUR SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cups rice Carnaroli, Arborio, or Baldo
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups hot Parmigiano Reggiano stock
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, cubed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until they become translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat it with extra virgin olive oil.

2. Add the wine, stir well, and after it is absorbed add 1/2 cup of the hot stock. Season the rice with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to add the hot stock in small batches, just enough to completely moisten the rice, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed, stirring constantly until the rice mixture is creamy and al dente.

3. Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano, season with pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Eileen is a single mom and a nurse, PCAII who loves to travel, enjoys cooking, a new cocktail makes all things better. She is a freelance writer sharing her experiences with readers. You can connect with her on Twitter @eisully.

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