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I love cheese, and always felt like a meal wasn’t a meal unless there was cheese incorporated into it. It just elevates the food, and the better the quality of the cheese, the better the overall gastronomic experience. Authentic, Italian original cheeses have a taste that is simply sublime, and if you love Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese, you want to make sure you are getting the real deal. Unfortunately there are imitators that use the name even though they aren’t creating the same product.
PDO stands for Protected Designation of Origin and PGI means Protected Geographical Indication. These symbols guarantee the products are from the official regions of Italy and that they were made with adherence to strict production standards that have been in place for hundreds of years, ensuring excellence in their production
The best Italian cheeses are made in Italy
When you want the authentic flavor profile and characteristics of the cheese you love, make sure it’s made in Italy! The traditional methods of production guarantee the rich flavor of the cheeses you love, and a great cheese can make all the difference in your meal, so check your cheeses when you buy!
Asiago comes in two ages, fresh (or “fresco”) and aged (or “stagionato”), each with a varied range of uniquely wonderful tastes and textures. There are many domestic varieties out there that aren’t real Italian Asiago PDO, so look for the word “Asiago” pressed into the rind to ensure you are buying Asiago PDO. Authentic Speck ham always comes from the Alto Adige region of Italy (thus the name Speck Alto Adige) and it has an inimitable smokey and deliciously herby flavor that is weak in copycat varieties. The real deal has the PGI seal on it, so ask for it at the deli counter by name every time you buy it.
Pecorino Romano is one of the oldest cheeses in the world, and not to be confused with Romano cheese or Pecorino cheese. It is the most well loved cheese of the millions of Italians in North America and Pecorino Romano PDO can be recognized because it has the words Pecorino Romano along with rounded diamonds that contain the outline of a stylized sheep’s head stamped on to the rind. Pecorino Romano PDO is both produced and made with ingredients sourced in the original region and by the same 2,000 year old tradition that has made it so well loved.
Pecorino Romano has such a wonderfully tangy flavor that makes it an ideal choice for shavings to top meals. Today I’m sharing a family favorite, a recipe that’s become so much better with the addition of authentic Pecorino Romano.
Pecorino Romano Meatballs
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs, crushed
1 lb 90% ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese PDO
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare a large pan with a light coating of butter.
2. Mix the milk and breadcrumbs together in a bowl and set aside. Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl by first whisking the egg, then adding the rest in the order listed in the recipe. Add in each new ingredient and mix by hand by pinching pieces together, then mix in the milk and breadcrumbs mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon.
3. Take about two heaping tablespoons at a time of meatball mixture and shape into a 1 1/2″ balls. Place meatballs on prepared pan.
4. Bake meatballs at 350º F for about 40 to 45 minutes.
5. Remove meatballs from heat and top with shaved Pecorino Romano PDO cheese. Serve and enjoy with everyone!
To learn more about authentic Italian cheeses, visit here.