Parmigiano Reggiano brings you the perfect dishes for spring picnics and outdoor dining
As we look forward to blossoms on the trees and Easter meals shared with loved ones, it may be time for a slight change in menu to savour the longer days. Parmigiano Reggiano’s nuanced flavours provide recipe inspiration for plenty of seasonal dishes – from snacks to accompany an aperitivo, to hearty dishes to be enjoyed with the whole family.
As the one and only Parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano is a 100% natural product, with no added additives or preservatives and made using only three ingredients: milk, salt, and rennet. It is also naturally lactose free and a source of calcium and phosphorous.
Granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in 1996, Parmigiano Reggiano is strongly bound to its area of origin and can only be produced in a small area of northern Italy. The techniques used to make Parmesan have undergone little changes over the last 1,000 years, maintaining the authenticity that makes Parmigiano Reggiano the one and only Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy a taste of Italy in the following easy recipes which are guaranteed to add a burst of flavour to any spring recipe book.
Parmigiano Reggiano Pâté on Sourdough Toast with Honey and Figs
Serve it on char-grilled sourdough with fresh figs, simmered with honey and nutmeg.
- 200g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
- 150g Low fat soft cheese
- 2 tbsp. Finely chopped chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Figs, sliced into wedges
- 2 tbsp. Clear honey
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Slices of sourdough bread
- Olive oil, for drizzling
Whole almonds, extra figs, and chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve
- Put the grated Parmigiano Reggiano into a mixing bowl with the soft cheese and chives and beat with a wooden spoon to combine. Season with a little freshly ground black pepper. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
- Put the figs into a saucepan with the honey and nutmeg, adding 3tbsp water. Heat and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, until the figs are syrupy.
- Preheat a chargrill pan or the grill. Drizzle the slices of sourdough with a little olive oil, then chargrill or grill until lightly browned. Serve spread with the pâté, topped with some of the figs – with salad leaves, whole almonds, extra figs, and chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.
Parmigiano Reggiano and Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Make this inspired combination of macaroni cheese and cauliflower cheese – taken to new heights with the secret ingredient, Parmigiano Reggiano!
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
- 150g Macaroni or tubular pasta shapes
- 500g Cauliflower, broken into florets
- 500ml Milk
- 40g Butter
- 50g Plain flour
- 150g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
- 2 tsp. Wholegrain mustard
- 3 tbsp. Dried breadcrumbs (e.g. Panko)
- A few cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 Slices pancetta
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Flat leaf parsley, to garnish
- Put the pasta into a large saucepan with the cauliflower and cook in gently boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is tender.
- Meanwhile, put the milk, butter, and flour into a large saucepan (preferably non-stick) and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a whisk to give a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in about three-quarters of the Parmigiano Reggiano and mustard. Avoid doing this over the heat, as it could make the sauce stringy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the grill and warm a large heatproof serving dish underneath it for a couple of minutes.
- Drain the pasta and cauliflower very thoroughly, then tip it into the warm serving dish. Pour the sauce over the top, mixing it in gently. Scatter the breadcrumbs and reserved cheese over the top. Dot the halved cherry tomatoes over the surface and arrange the pancetta slices on top.
- Grill for 6-8 minutes until the pancetta is crispy and the surface is golden brown and bubbling. Serve, garnished with chopped flat leaf parsley.
Cook’s tip: This is a great family meal, though if there are just two of you, share the quantity between 2 serving dishes and freeze one for another time.
About Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product and one of the oldest, richest cheeses in the world. Made in a small area of northern Italy – including the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Mantua and Bologna – it has undergone very little change to the production process and is essentially still produced the same way it was nearly 1,000 years ago.
Parmigiano Reggiano is made with only three ingredients – milk, salt, and rennet – and therefore contains no additives, only natural bacteria. To create its distinctive taste, the cattle have a specific diet, and Parmesan has a minimum maturation period of one year, but it can mature for much longer, even up to 48 months.
Parmigiano Reggiano is the only cheese that can be legally called “Parmesan”. Other Italian hard cheeses may be mistaken for Parmesan due to their shape, but as they are not produced under Parmigiano Reggiano’s exact conditions and area of origin, they cannot be called Parmesan under EU and UK law.
For more information on Parmigiano Reggiano, visit https://www.parmigianoreggiano.com/