Everybody can appreciate a great Italian meal. There are fewer cuisines more beloved internationally than the pastas, breads, and cheeses that come from Italy. Italian cooking is a cultural tradition just as much as anything. There are a lot of things that go into the craft, but something that makes it much easier to master if you’re not Italian is knowing the secret Italian cheeses that deliver full, authentic flavor. There is a well-known cheese like mozzarella and parmesan but knowing these best unknown cheeses in the Italian repertoire can make your cooking go up to the next level.
If you talk about Italian cheeses anywhere in the Northern regions, they’ll point you to taleggio. It’s an old cheese, and it’s been around for a long time for a reason. It’s thick and somewhat elastic texture makes it a bit intimidating, but in the middle, it’s crumbly and great in any dish. Add it to a sauce or top pasta with it for a great, bold finish.
What do you get when you mix cream and mozzarella? Burrata is hard to miss if you’re touring Italy, but here in the United States, it is severely underused. A lot of people use its creamy consistency in a variety of ways, including topping light salads with it as a pseudo dressing. If you sprinkle it on pasta, get ready for some really great flavors. Translating loosely to buttery, it’s a wonderful topping to any dish.
Sheep are a big deal in Italy, and not just for their wool. Sheep’s milk yields pecorinos, a cheese featuring some heavy flavor. A lot of people might know pecorino in its romano form, but the milder sardo and toscano varieties are not very often used in cooking for an American take on Italian. It’s a shame too because they’re a great accent to milder cheeses like mozzarella or parmesan.
Formaggio di Fossa
Pit cheese sounds much less appetizing than Formaggio di fossa, but that’s what it means. While it looks deformed, its flavor is so delicate that you can smell it long after you’ve finished eating it. You’ll see this cheese in a lot of Italian quiches.
Sure, we use ricotta in lasagna in the United States, but try it on fish for a whole new experience! It’s a creamy cheese that can really revolutionize a dish, so try it on some things you might not often think of.