An Ode To Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Have you ever had the pleasure of dipping a fresh piece of Italian bread into a bowl of olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese in your very own home? Or how about shaving thin slices of fresh Parmesan onto your salads? Shredded briskly over pastas or blended into pestos, this uniquely sharp cheese is welcome in just about anything I cook. Because it’s that good. I truly believe I have come down with a case of Parmesanitis as I am 100% addicted (in retrospect, this seems to have been foreshadowed by my photo habit). I grate mound after mound of this stuff every chance I get. But even if there were such a thing as a diagnosed addiction to Parmesan cheese, life could definitely be worse.
You see, grating your own fresh Parmesan cheese from your very own wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano is an extremely different experience than shaking out the flavorless powdered stuff from a tube. Not only do you feel sophisticated as you grate, but the flavor just pops no matter what you add it to.
I personally did not have the luxury of owning my own chunk of a Parmesan wheel until just recently when kosher versions became available (we keep a kosher kitchen so we couldn’t just buy any Parmesan cheese). At $15 for the wedge, the price seems rather hefty at first. But 2 weeks and multiple usages later, I’d say it’s more than worth it. We still have a huge chunk of the stuff left and it’s still fresh (we made sure to seal up the cheese as airtight as possible after using it to keep it lasting longer).
The only downside to keeping a hunk of fresh Parmesan cheese in your refrigerator is that you might become addicted like me. Not only will I plan meals around serving the Parmesan cheese but I will literally snack on it every chance I get. If a meal needs an appetizer, what do you know – we’ve got bread, olive oil and Parmesan cheese!
And honestly, that’s my favorite part of going out to Italian restaurants anyway. I would always ask the waiter to come back and grate more cheese and oddly enough, I always feel like I’m the only one to ever ask for more. Does no one else appreciate this flavor?
Well at least these recipes highlight the wondrous flavor of Parmesan:
Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon Chicken
Romano Parmesan Chicken
Kale with Parmesan, Pine Nuts and Bacon Bits
Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
Saffron Rice with Parmesan Cheese
Pasta with Mint and Parmesan
Parmesan Herb Bread
Zesty Potatoes Topped With Parmesan Cheese