Pecorino Romano cheese is an essential ingredient when preparing traditional Roman dishes, a complex and sharp Italian cheese that will elevate any serving of food.
Arguably one of the oldest cheeses, this well-loved Italian cheese originated from the region of Lazio but is nowadays also produced in the isle of Sardinia.
To this day, the production of Pecorino Romano cheese still follows the same process from the old days — the ancient breeding of the sheep.
Traditionally, Roman families enjoy their pecorino with fresh fava beans — today, it’s quite common to see this pairing in other regions of Italy.
Pecorino Romano is generally enjoyed as a table cheese once it’s aged for at least five months and is excellent for grating if it’s aged for about eight months.
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Pecorino cheese is a type of Italian cheese made of 100% sheep milk.
It’s a hard cheese aged for at least five months and has an intense flavor and aroma.
The mature pecorino Romano is a must for preparing traditional dishes from Roman cuisine such as Bucatini all’Amatriciana and Cacio e Pepe.
Other Popular Types of Pecorino
- Pecorino Toscano from Tuscany
- Pecorino Sardo from Sardinia
Both are not as salty as pecorino Romano — served and typically eaten as they are.
Please note that the commonly available ‘Romano cheese‘ in the United States is not based on the real pecorino Romano — it is made with cow’s milk and is significantly milder in flavor.
Pecorino Romano vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano
While you can sometimes use them interchangeably, there are significant differences between these two kinds of Italian cheese:
- There is more fat in pecorino Romano cheese because it comes from sheep, while Parmigiano-Reggiano is from cows.
- Although pecorino is typically aged for eight to twelve months, it is more pungent and sharper in flavor than Parmigiano, which is aged for at least twelve months.
- Parmigiano is harder and noticeably crumblier because it has less moisture than Pecorino Romano cheese.
Pecorino Romano Substitutes
Parmigiano Reggiano is an excellent substitute in most dishes — even for the classic Roman dishes.
You can almost get the same saltiness, but the creaminess might not be on the same level.
Another hard cheese from North Italy, sometimes called ‘the queen of Italian cheeses.’
Grana Padano is closer to a Parmigiano than a Pecorino Romano, albeit less intense and dry.
All in all, still a fantastic alternative for pecorino Romano cheese.
Some of my friends think that the usage of pecorino Romano is quite limited because of how intensely salty it is, so they only tend to use it for pasta or casseroles.
I disagree with that; fava beans or a glass of robust red wine, for example — Yum!
Pecorino Romano cheese is used in a lot of traditional dishes from Rome, such as:
The result is a flavor-packed pasta dish that will surely make you ask for seconds — I know I always do! 🙂
Yes, there are just a few ingredients, but it definitely delivers a punch — absolutely mouthwatering!
I always keep it in a cool, dry place; and wrapped in its original packaging, if possible.
Are you finally convinced to give Pecorino Romano a try? You will not regret it! 🙂