The King of Cheeses

The King of Cheeses

Produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua to the right of the River Po, and in Bologna to the left of the River Reno, Parmigiano Reggiano is known as ‘the only parmesan’ and has a Protected Designation of Origin badge to prove it. This exceptional cheese was originally made by monks in the Middle Ages and 900 years later still withstands the test of time. It is 100% natural and made with only three ingredients: milk, salt and rennet.

In order to be called ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’, the cheese must follow certain rules. All stages of its production process – from 75% of the cows’ feed, the milk production, and subsequent transformation into cheese, to the maturation, the grating and the packaging – must take place in the area of origin. The cheese must also be matured for a minimum of 12 months before being given the seal of approval by a member of the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano.

With a high calcium and protein count and no additives or preservatives, Parmigiano Reggiano can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. Thanks to its natural production process, Parmigiano Reggiano is also naturally lactose free, since all its sugar (lactose) is transformed into lactic acid by lactic bacteria.

This Summer, enjoy Parmigiano Reggiano by having a go at making these delicious, seasonal recipes to bring some Italian style to your cooking.

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Budget Friendly Meals

Cavolo Nero with Parmigiano Reggiano

To be served with your choice of pasta, this inexpensive dish has the earthiness of the cavolo nero and the savoury notes from the anchovies and Parmigiano Reggiano, cut through with a little lemon juice.

Serves 4


800g Cavolo Nero, washed

200g Macaroni or another small pasta variety

25g Unsalted Butter

1 Banana Shallot, finely chopped

1 Garlic Clove, finely sliced

50g Tin Anchovies, drained and finely-chopped

100ml Dry white wine

300ml Double Cream

100g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely-grated

1/8 Nutmeg, finely-grated

Salt and Pepper

Juice ½ Lemon


  1. Strip the cavolo nero leaves from their central rib and roughly chop. Boil in lightly salted water for 3 minutes, then drain, refresh in cold water and drain again.
  2. Cook the pasta al dente according to the packet’s instructions. Drain when ready, reserving a mug of the pasta water.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the shallots in the butter until translucent, approx. 5 mins. Add the anchovies and garlic and turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting. Melt the anchovies into the butter for approx. 2 mins. Add the wine, raise the heat and reduce until the alcohol has evaporated, approx. 3 mins. Add the double cream, nutmeg, seasoning and half the Parmigiano Reggiano and continue to simmer.
  4. Squeeze the water from the cavolo nero, add to the creamy mixture and combine thoroughly. Add in the cooked pasta and mix together gently. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, check for seasoning and add a little pasta water if the sauce needs loosening up.
  5. Divide between four hot plates and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano.

Orecchiette Pasta with Tenderstem Broccoli, Parmigiano Reggiano Shavings and Italian Sausage

Orecchiette means ‘little ears’ in Italian, which is the perfect shape to scoop up lots of delicious pasta sauce. The simplicity of this pasta shape means that you do not require a pasta machine to roll out, instead shaping each piece by hand. The delicious sauce utilises the starch in the pasta water to bring everything together in to a creamy sauce that just coats the pasta and sausage pieces.

Serves 2


100g Dried orecchiette pasta, or other shapes

750ml Water

75g Tenderstem broccoli (7 Stems), trimmed

3 Italian-style Sausages, chopped or torn in to small pieces

30g Extra virgin olive oil

2 Garlic Cloves

50g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Salt and Black Pepper to season


Place the water in a saucepan and season with a little salt. Bring to the boil and add the pasta. Add the broccoli after 8 minutes.

  1. Remove the broccoli and place it on to a serving plate.
  2. Add 75ml of the pasta water to the frying pan with the sausage and garlic. Turn up the heat and add the Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir and let everything reduce and thicken for a couple of minutes until you have a thick sauce.
  3. Add the pasta and season well with salt and black pepper.

Serve with the broccoli and drizzle over a little olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with basil leaves.

5 Ingredient Meal

Dijon and Parmigiano Reggiano Crusted Fish Fingers

Cod goujons coated in Dijon Mustard and Parmigiano Reggiano, offering quick and tasty alternative to those taken out of the freezer. Baked in the oven and served with a fresh green salad and a zesty lemon vinaigrette.

Serves 2 as a light meal


240g Fresh haddock fillets, cut into 4-6 strips

20g Dijon Mustard

30g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

For the Salad:

1 tsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

½ tsp Dijon Mustard

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

100g Mixed salad leaves, washed

8  Cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C; fan oven 180 ˚C, gas mark 6.
  2. Put the goujons in a mixing bowl. Mix with the Dijon Mustard until fully coated.
  3. Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the bowl and lightly mix until the fish is coated. Do not over mix as the Parmigiano Reggiano may begin to clump together.
  4. Place a wire rack on to a baking tray and arrange the fish on top. This will help them to crisp up evenly during cooking. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Put the ingredients for the vinaigrette into a large bowl and whisk until emulsified. Add the lettuce and tomatoes to the vinaigrette.
  6. Share between 2 serving plates and arrange the fish fingers on top. Serve with some extra vinaigrettes and some Parmigiano Reggiano shavings to finish.

Warming Winter Meal

Parmigiano Reggiano Baked Fennel and Leeks

Both Fennel and Leeks are hearty vegetables that hold their texture well in a baked gratin. This comforting dish is best served with crusty bread to soak up the tasty juices.

Serves 4


500g Leeks, washed and trimmed

3 Fennel bulbs, quartered lengthways

50g Unsalted Butter

50ml Water

125ml Dry White Wine

200ml Double Cream

100g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ˚C, fan oven to 180˚C, gas mark 6.
  2. Boil the fennel in a little salted water until tender, approx. 5 mins. Drain well, spread out in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 25g of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
  3. Put the butter, water and leeks into a pan and stew with the lid on until soft, approx. 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add the white wine and turn up the heat and boil until the wine has reduced by 2/3. Add the cream, nutmeg and 25g of Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer for 3 minutes and pour over the fennel.
  5. Sprinkle with the remaining 25g parmesan and bake for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbling. Serve with good bread to soak up the juices.

Cheese Board

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Board

This is a cheese board where all of the elements compliment the complex flavours of Parmigiano Reggiano – salty, sweet and meaty, with some fresh and pickled elements to cut through the richness.

Serves 4-6


1-2 wedges Parmigiano Reggiano, plus shavings for decoration

For Salty:

5 slices Prosciutto di Parma

1 tin Cantabrian Anchovies

40g Marcona Almonds

For Sweet:

3 Fresh Figs

1 bunch Muscat Grapes

2 Comice Pears

9g Dried Apricots

For Pickled:

1 ramekin Pickled Fennel or sauerkraut

15g Silver Skin Onions

15g Artichoke Hearts, from a jar

For Fresh:

10g Fresh Rocket Leaves

10g Lamb’s Lettuce, fresh

7g Extra Virgin Olive oil


  1. Select a board/chopping board to use for serving.
  2. Chop the figs and the pears into halves.
  3. 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.
  4. Gather the grapes in a bunch and place them on to the board.
  5. Mix the different salad leaves together in a bowl. Slightly drizzle a little olive oil over the leaves and mix together.
  6. Build them up gently on the board so that there is a good height to the salad.
  7. Slice the artichoke hearts and place them along with pickled fennel into a small ramekin.
  8. Take the slices of prosciutto and gently fold and twist them in to rough ribbons. Stack on top of each other to make a neat pile.
  9. Place the dried apricots, anchovies, Marcona almonds and silver skin onions around different areas of the board.

Serve this as a light meal or aperitivo.

Family Meal Time

Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Herb and Parmigiano Reggiano Butter

As a change from serving with gravy, roast a chicken and add the roasting juices to a buttery sauce seasoned with lemon, Parmigiano Reggiano and herbs (could be tarragon, parsley, basil, or a mixture of the three)

Serves 4


1 Free-range chicken, 1.8 – 2kg

1 Shallot, finely chopped

100ml Dry white wine

150ml Double Cream

125g Unsalted Butter, cubed and chilled

50g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

10g Flat leaf Parsley, large stalks removed and finely chopped

1 Sprig Tarragon, leaves removed and chopped (approx.. 3g)

1 tbsp Lemon Juice, (approx. ¼ Lemon)

Two Pinches Lemon Zest, (approx. 1/8 Lemon)

Salt and Pepper


For the Chicken:

Roast your chicken in your usual way, or:

  1. Spatchcock chicken by cutting out the backbone and flattening the bird. Season generously.
  2. Place backbone, wing tips and any giblets (except the liver) that came with the bird into a baking tray with a good slug of water. Then place the chicken on a wire rack over the top of the roasting tray.
  3. Roast @ 230˚c for 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) until golden brown, and the leg meat easily pulls away when pinched with your fingers.
  4. Remove the chicken and roasting tray from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes. Strain the chicken juices from the tray in to a small jug, spooning any fat off that rises to the top.

For the Sauce:

  1. Place the shallots and white wine into a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce wine by ¾.
  2. Add double cream, chicken juices and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain hot cream into a jug, add butter and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
  4. Add Parmigiano Reggiano, herbs, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Adjust seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste

To Serve
; carve the chicken and serve with seasonal vegetable and the Parmigiano sauce.

These recipes were developed by Tastehead and photographed and styled at Steve Lee Studios in collaboration with Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano.

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