Hard salty cheese based on sheep’s milk was first prepared in the vicinity of Rome. The product was so loved by the locals that it began to be added to most Italian dishes. There is an opinion that in the classic version of the spaghetti they use not parmesan, but one of the varieties of pecorino.
The product is still cooked by hand. It matures for at least 5 months. Long exposure gives piquancy, pungency and significantly increases its cost.
What you need to know about the product, how do pecorino varieties differ from each other, and what happens to the human body with prolonged use of cheese?
Pecorino is the common name for the Italian cheese family. Italian Pecorino is made from sheep's milk, in some cases herbs or spices are added. The product has a granular structure, which becomes more noticeable as it ripens. Ripened cheese literally falls apart into small bars, without losing elasticity and dense texture.
Etymological reference. The name comes from the Italian word with ancient Roman roots "pecora" - a sheep.
Pecorino is much healthier than most Italian cheeses. The main ingredient is sheep’s milk. It is replete with essential amino acids, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), retinol (A), B vitamins, ascorbic acid (C), nicotinic acid (PP) and tocopherol (E).
In most Italian provinces, pecorino is served as an independent appetizer or dessert. The product goes well with homemade bread, honey, all kinds of nuts, pears and grapes. But the use of pecorino is not limited to bruschettas or a cheese plate. Cheese is added to soups, cold and warm salads. Shredded pecorino is the eternal companion of traditional spaghetti. In the selection of drinks for an Italian evening, focus on the classic Chianti. It is this dry red wine from Tuscany - the most preferred option for all types of pecorino.
Interesting: the dense head of aged pecorino is used as a sports equipment in the Italian game of Ruzola. Cheese is tied to the player’s hand with a special ribbon. The participant must abandon the product as far as possible. The winning team receives social approval and the very head of cheese.
Varieties of Italian Cheeses
Different recipes for sheep cheese are used in different parts of Italy. Due to geographical features, 4 pecorino varieties are available on the market. Among them: romano, sardo, tuscany, siciliano.
Pecorino romano is especially popular. This is a salty cheese cooked on the island of Sardinia and in the Italian region of Lazio. The dense heads of the novel exude a delicate island smell. The product is famous for its characteristic salty flavor. Cheese ripens within 8-12 months. It is made in large cylindrical shapes. The weight of one cheese bar varies from 5 to 22 kilograms, the height is 30 centimeters, and the diameter of the head is 20 centimeters. Romano has a smooth crust and a dense uniform structure. It is served as a dessert with honey and jams, added to soups, salads, meat and fish dishes.
Interesting: the novel is popular not only in Spain, but also in the USA. Americans have been exporting the product since the 19th century and eat as often as national dishes.
A less popular cheese is pecorino siciliano. It is produced in Sicily in two variations: tuma and primrose. Tuma is a young, unsalted product that is known for its delicate texture and soft crust. Prima Sale is a more seasoned and salty cheese with a bright flavor and aromatic palette. If siciliano matures for more than 2 years, then it is called canestrato. The product is left to ripen in tall cylindrical heads. At the output, bulk cheese bars weighing 5-12 kilograms and a height of 10-18 centimeters are obtained.
The third kind of product is sardo. This is a boiled pressed cheese, the production of which is controlled by Sardinia. Sardo is considered the most tender cheese from the pecorino family. It is used as the basis for the preparation of exotic cheese product Kasu Marzu. This is a semi-decomposed mass, inside which live the larvae of a cheese fly. Sardo has several ripening levels, at each of which the cheese is ready to eat. The older the bar - the denser the structure and the piquant taste.
Another variation of pecorino is tuscany. It is pressed or soft cheese from the Tuscan settlement of Siena. Cheese is consumed daily not only in Tuscany, but also in the surrounding area of Umbria and Lazio. Aged tuscany called stagionato. The product matures for about 6 months in miniature forms, which are greased with olive oil and strewn with ashes. The finished bar fills the receptors with nutty, oily and seasoned ashy notes. The younger the cheese, the sweeter, more tender, milkier its taste and structure. Many people prefer the neutral version of Tuscany, rather than a multi-component stagionato.
Pecorino contains not only sheep’s milk. Enthusiasts create amazing flavor combinations from traditional Italian products and spices. Chopped black pepper, slices of red chili, nuts, basil, arugula, truffles and tomato puree are often added to cheese heads. Culinary experts add only fresh natural products, which guarantees the quality and benefits of cheese.
Interesting. All pecorino varieties are endowed with a special status - PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). This means that the cheese is protected by origin. Its manufacture can only be done on clearly defined Italian lands, to which Pecorino belongs. Making cheese outside the permissible zone without special permission is a crime for which liability is provided.
The chemical composition of pecorino romano 27% fat
|Calorie content||387 kcal|
|Alimentary fiber||0 g|
|Beta Carotene (A)||0,69|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0,42|
|Folic acid (B9)||0,007|
Benefits and possible harm to the food component
Sheep's milk is much healthier than cow's milk, but the use of any animal product can be fraught with certain risks. For those who do not want to deprive their diet of cheese products, pecorino is the most healthy and nutritious alternative.
Indeed, there is much less harmful enzymes and lactose in sheep’s milk, which an adult cannot break down and digest. Moreover, the nutrient balance of the product is replete with vitamins and minerals that we cannot generate on our own. It has much less salt than most cheeses in cow's milk, but high cholesterol and fats are 30 milligrams and 8 grams, respectively, per 30 grams of pecorino.
We are not able to follow the complete process of dairy production. There are no guarantees that the animals are kept in proper conditions, fed with useful food without impurities, and they collect exactly as much milk as the sheep can produce. If these requirements are not met, then we get on the plate hormones that stimulate enzymes and toxic substances that are released to animals in stressful situations. It is impossible to predict their effects on humans. Common symptoms are abrupt weight gain, hormonal problems, uncontrolled appetite.
Try to reduce the consumption of cheeses, regardless of the composition of the raw materials, to 20-50 grams per day. So you can satisfy your hunger, close the psychological need for your favorite product and protect the body from supersaturation with fats / salt / hormones of animal origin.