Known in the dairy industry as “the king of cheeses” and officially as Parmigiano-Reggiano, parmesan is an aged hard cheese made from cow’s milk. True parmigiano-reggiano produced in Parma, Italy is strictly trademarked, and cheese bearing that name must be made in a specific way with only 3 ingredients, so most cheeses labeled as “parmesan” are not authentic, but instead imitate the real deal. Looking for the original? Look out for cheese labeled Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Always buy parmesan in wedges rather than already shaved, and grate it yourself with a microplane or a box grater.
Store parmesan in the fridge wrapped in parchment or wax paper. Then wrap in plastic wrap if you must.
Plastic wrap is not suggested as the lack of breathability can foster the growth of bacteria. Plus, cheese absorbs things! It can absorb smells and chemicals from plastic wrap. Parchment or wax paper allows the cheese to “throw off” any absorbed odor and it does not introduce new ones, like plastic wrap can.
Save and freeze parmesan rinds to toss into slow-cooking soups and stews.
Parmesan contains 33% protein compared to 20% in lean beef and that animal protein takes 4 hours to digest while the protein in Parmesan takes just 45 minutes.
Parmesan is an ingredient that elevates a dish beyond the sum of its parts, which is true for parmesan-centric dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara and fettucine alfredo. Making them from scratch will forever change the way you see pasta, guaranteed. Just be sure to use the good stuff!
Parmesan makes a sharp addition to a cheese board with bread or crackers and dried fruit or jam. It’s especially delicious drizzled with syrupy aged balsamic vinegar.
Shave parmesan into pasta dishes, soups, risottos, and salads for a salty, umami punch.
Parmesan is bursting with protein at over 20 grams for a 2 oz serving. It’s also a good source of calcium.
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