Which Cheese For Pasta: Parmesan vs Romano Pecorino
If the question “Which cheese for pasta?” is burning in your mind and you are trying to choose between Parmesan and Pecorino, you’re not alone. Many home cooks struggle to determine when to whip out the Parmesan vs. their piece of Romano Pecorino.
While the two cheeses are similar, there are a few key differences. We hope this info will help you make your choice!
Why Add Cheese to Pasta?
Adding cheese to pasta enhances flavor and texture, transforming a simple dish into something rich and savory-filled. The creamy and umami-rich nature of cheese, whether Parmesan or Pecorino, complements the pasta’s starchiness.
Cheese also contributes to the silkiness of sauces, helping to bind ingredients together.
Read on to answer the question, “Which cheese for pasta?”.
All About Parmesan
Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, stands as an emblem of Italian cheese craftsmanship. It originates in regions like Parma and Reggio Emilia.
This cheese has a distinctive flavor with nutty and savory undertones. It has a delightful umami richness that enhances the dishes it’s added to.
Parmesan transforms during its aging process. Its texture becomes crumbly and granular, which is ideal for grating. With aging, its taste intensifies, gaining a sharper, robust character.
Parmesan finds an irreplaceable place in pasta dishes. It makes Fettuccine Alfredo extra creamy, while Carbonara is boosted by its nutty taste. The cheese is the real deal and an easy choice when making a pasta dish.
All About Pecorino Romano
Pecorino, crafted from sheep’s milk, is a distinguished Italian cheese.
Pecorino’s flavor is robust and tangy, standing in contrast to Parmesan’s milder flavor. This uniqueness arises from its sheep’s milk base, which gives it a distinctive taste.
Pecorino has a couple of variations, such as Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Toscano.
With its sharp and peppery essence, Pecorino Romano is a standout, often used for grating over pasta. On the other hand, Pecorino Toscano offers a milder profile, making it suitable for other Italian dishes.
Pecorino shines in pasta dishes that crave its specific qualities. Cacio e Pepe goes well with the strong flavor of Pecorino. Amatriciana, with its tomato and pork-based sauce, finds its balance with the tangy kick of Pecorino.
Choosing the Right Cheese for Your Pasta
When selecting cheese for your pasta, the contrasting flavors of Parmesan and Pecorino offer different paths.
Parmesan’s nutty, savory notes create an easy-going blend with creamy pasta dishes, while Pecorino’s robust tanginess is perfect for robust tomato-based sauces. Here’s a little more to help guide you:
- If you are trying to choose which cheese to use with your pasta, consider the makeup of the sauce. Creamy pasta, like Alfredo, is well suited to Parmesan, adding richness. With its sharpness, Pecorino amplifies the zing of tomato sauces, such as in arrabbiata.
- Consider your taste preferences. Pecorino might be right for you if you enjoy a stronger, tangier punch. For those seeking milder sophistication, Parmesan could be the answer.
- Embrace the best of both worlds by combining Parmesan and Pecorino. A great option if you really can’t choose!