I recently received a “care package” from Ferrari Organic Parmigiano Reggiano. Parm is a “must” for my cheese drawer; I’m never without Parm in the fridge. It’s a “Utility Player” in my cooking world; in recipes; on top of entrees; even the rind has many uses in the kitchen.
“Real” Parmigiano Reggiano is a “protected” cheese; the Italian and EU governments, in conjunction with the producers of Parmigiano Reggiano, have set up regulations to control the quality of the product. Some of the regulations include:
- The cheese must be made from unpasteurized milk: the whole morning milk mixed with the partially skimmed milk from the previous evening’s milking.
- It must be produced in one of only five regions in Italy: Parma, Emilia, Reggio, part of Bologna and part of Mantua.
- It must be aged in one of these regions for a minimum of twelve months.
The regulations are in place to protect the tradition of the product, assuring the buyer of the quality of the cheese. The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium also requires that each wedge of this cheese include rind; this guarantees you are getting “the real thing”.
In 2011, I had the honor of spending several hours at a Parmigiano Reggiano Aging Facility while attending the Slow Food Cheese Show in Bra.
Ferrari Organic Parmigiano Reggiano is nutty and sweet filled with those fabulous crystals that add crunchiness and a little extra burst of flavor. These crystals come with aging in certain cheeses, including Cheddar, Romano and Gouda. The crystals are two types: tyrosine and calcium lactate. Tyrosine, which are firm and bright white, are typical in Romano and Gouda while calcium lactate crystals, which are softer and paler in color, are more common in cheddar. In Parmigiano Reggiano, both crystals exist and you can tell the difference by the firmness of each.
At room temperature, Ferrari Parmigiano Reggiano is an excellent snacking cheese. Top it with a little fig or pepper jam and it’s like a party in your mouth… yummers.
I used it recently to create my version of scrambled eggs and pasta; one of my favorite brunch dishes. As you can see in the pictures below, I added ham and fresh spinach from my weekly CSA farm delivery. An easy and elegant brunch entree. (Recipe below.)
Ferrari offers wedges, shreds and bite-size pieces, making it easy to choose the offering that works best for you. I prefer shredding my own as I need it but when I was a monger, in-house shreds were popular and sold as fast as we could package it. Also, if you buy a wedge, you’ll have rind to use to flavor soups, sauces or to make a broth.
I give Ferrari Organic Parmigiano Reggiano 4 Paws.
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese board, I would serve it just before the blue cheese, which should always be served last. Shredded on top of pasta dishes, pizza and vegetables adds flavor and complexity to these dishes. You can also shred it, mound it and pop it in the oven to make a perfect baked, crispy snack.
Wine Pairing: A robust red.
FTC Disclosure: The manufacturer sent me this cheese, without any obligation on my part, hoping I would review the product. Please see my About Me Page for details.
Recipe for “Eggs Marcella”
Pasta – cooked al dente (in parm broth to add extra flavor complexity)
Ham – diced
Spinach – cleaned and chopped, without stems
Eggs – whisked
Ferrari Parmigiano Reggiano – Shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare pasta al dente and drain but do not rinse
Add EVOO and prepared pasta to a saute pan.
Add ham and spinach to pasta and stir to coat ingredients with EVOO.
Make a hole in the middle and add the whisked eggs. As they begin to cook, incorporate eggs with pasta, ham and spinach. Continue to cook eggs and toss until eggs are soft scrambled and coating the pasta mixture.
Top dish with shredded parm.
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