The holidays are here, meaning guilt-free delicious treats are on the agenda. For this food feature, we’re shining the spotlight on Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. To help inspire your tastebuds, we’ve put together a special holiday food feature that contains three simple to make recipes that will make the celebrations feel even more special.
Government advice permitting, the holidays is the ideal opportunity to meet up and enjoy the company of family and friends. No get-togethers would be complete without food and refreshments. As many of our regular readers will no doubt know, we’ve ‘gone to town’ this year when it comes to refreshments with food suggestions taking somewhat of a back seat, so we’re going to address this.
Earlier this year, we were reacquainted with the world of Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s an extraordinary cheese, and we’d liken it to the Rolls-Royce or Bentley of the Cheese world. We’re not the only ones thinking highly of this amazing Italian produce.
At the 2021 World Cheese Awards, 4079 kinds of cheese from 48 countries were put to the test by 250 experts, and it was Parmigiano Reggiano that grabbed the limelight with an incredible 126 medals.
Below are three recipes that we feel would be perfect for enjoying with friends and family between Christmas and New Year. All you need to do is pop down to your local supermarket, get whatever ingredients you need and follow the instructions!
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese sable biscuits with mortadella and pistachio mousse
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour in the fridge
- 200g type “00” flour
- 120g cold butter
- 70g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- black pepper as needed
- a pinch of salt
- For the mortadella mousse:
- 300g mortadella
- 100g ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh cream
50g chopped pistachios
To make it:
Cut the cold butter from the fridge into small dice and beat it in the mixer on low speed, together with the flour, grated Parmigiano cheese, pepper and salt. Add in the egg yolks and mix until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous dough. Wrap it in cling film and place it inside the fridge for at least 1 hour.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 5mm and cut out the biscuits with a 5cm round cutter.
Place the biscuits on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden. Let them cool.
In the meantime, prepare the mortadella mousse: in the mixer, blend the cubed mortadella, the ricotta cheese and the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese until you obtain a homogeneous mixture free of lumps. Add the cream and continue mixing until you obtain a mousse.
Transfer it to a pastry bag with a 15mm plain piping tip and use it to sandwich the biscuits together. Press them into the chopped pistachios and put them in the fridge until ready to serve.
Parmigiano Reggiano, Hot Smoked Trout and Beetroot Salad
This colourful, nutritious main course salad makes for easy alfresco eating. Shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano finish it off perfectly! This recipe takes 15 minutes to prepare and serves 4 people.
- 4 generous handfuls rocket or mixed salad leaves
- 4 cooked beetroot (vacuum packed, not in vinegar), sliced into wedges
- 1 bulb fennel, finely sliced
- 12 baby plum tomatoes, halved
- 4 x 90g hot smoked trout fillets
- 2tbsp capers in brine, rinsed
- Generous shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano
- 4tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
- 2tbsp mayonnaise
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Share the rocket or salad leaves between 4 serving plates and top with the beetroot, fennel and tomatoes.
- Gently break up the smoked trout fillets into chunks, removing any skin, and share between the salads. Scatter a few capers on top and finish off with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.
- For the dressing, mix together the yoghurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and dill.
- Season with a little salt and black pepper. Serve with the salads.
Cook’s tip: Use hot-smoked salmon instead of trout for a change.
Food Stylist and Writer: Sue Ashworth
Photographer: Steve Lee Studios
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Board
This is a cheeseboard where all the elements complement the complex flavours of Parmigiano Reggiano – salty, sweet and meaty, with some fresh and pickled elements to cut through the richness. This recipe serves 4-6 people.
The cheese element:
1-2 blocks Parmigiano Reggiano, plus shavings for decoration
5 slices Prosciutto di Parma
1 tin Cantabrian Anchovies
40g Marcona Almonds
3 Fresh figs
1 bunch Muscat grapes
2 Comice pears
9g Dried apricots
1 ramekin Pickled fennel or sauerkraut
15g Silverskin onions
15g Artichoke hearts, from a jar
10g Fresh rocket leaves
10g Lamb’s lettuce, fresh
7g Extra virgin olive oil
- Select a board/chopping board to use for serving.
- Chop the figs and the pears into halves.
- Place two wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano in the centre of the board. You can also use one of the wedges to take some shavings from and use as decoration for the board.
- Gather the grapes in a bunch and place them onto the board.
- Pop all the salad leaves into a bowl, and then drizzle a little olive oil over the leaves before mixing them together.
- Build them up gently on the board so that there is a good height to the salad.
- Slice the artichoke hearts and place them along with pickled fennel into a small ramekin.
- Take the slices of prosciutto and gently fold and twist them into rough ribbons. Place them on top of each other to make a neat pile.
- Place the dried apricots, anchovies, Marcona almonds and silver skin onions around different areas of the board.
- Serve this as a light meal or as an aperitivo.
Recipe developed by Tastehead; photographed and styled at Steve Lee Studios.
If you’d like to try your hand at lots more recipes and want to learn more about Parmigiano Reggiano’s incredible history, visit their website www.parmigianoreggiano.com.
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