The Grate Escape – Eating Pecorino in Italy

You may have heard, I recently went to Italy. To say this was a spiritual experience (bit like my visit to The ABBA Museum would be very accurate.

I spent most of my time in Florence like ralph

Florence is well known for many things. some bloke called David, the setting of a million films and novels and of course, its’ food.

I was there for the cheese – specifically Pecorino.

show us your pecs

show us your pecs

Pecorino is the name of a family of hard Italian cheeses made from ewe’s milk. The word derives from Italian pecora meaning ‘sheep’, which in turn is from the Latin pecus meaning livestock.

Like Parmesan we have all probably had some bad Pecorino – shredded, refrigerated and generally mistreated. Trying it “fresh” in Italy was a revelation.

Pecorino comes in a variety of styles depending on how long they have been aged. The more matured cheeses, referred to as stagionato (“seasoned” or “aged” ), are harder but still crumbly in texture and have decidedly buttery and nutty flavors.

The other two types semi-stagionato and fresco have a softer texture and milder cream and milk tastes.

Pecorino tasting in Florence

Pecorino tasting in Florence

A good Pecorino Stagionato is often the finish of a meal in Italy, served with pears and walnuts or drizzled with strong honey. I tried mine was a jam, which was sweet and played against the salty savory elements of the cheese. Honey is also a favorite, sometimes tinged with truffles from the local region.

Pecorino is also often used to finish pasta dishes as it is cheaper than Parmesan. This inspired me on my return home to try it with some unbleached pasta I bought in Florence.

Pasta with breadcrumbs and pecorino

Pasta with breadcrumbs and pecorino

If I squinted, drank several glasses of wine and completely lost my mind, I could have been back in Florence.

4 replies »

  1. Wow I love Pecorino especially the stagionato, I love it with honey or with pasta. This type of cheese is used in Rome as well in my favourite pasta of all called “Buccatini alla matriciana” bacon,tomato sauce and pecorino. Delicious!!! Thanks for sharing this post!🙂

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