Cheese, Gromit!

Or, more specifically for our purposes today, a terrific grating cheese from Argentina called Parmigiano Reggianito.

Any similarity to Italy's great Parmigiano Reggiano is purely intentional. Apparently, the cheese owes its existence to Italian migrant workers jonesing for a taste of home. These hungry ex-pats settled in Argentina, but left their hearts--or at least their palates--in Emilia-Romagna.

While it's tempting to dismiss the South American as a new-world knock-off, it's much closer in character to its namesake than to the insipid contents of a certain ubiquitous green-foil can.

In fact, the "little reggiano" is perfectly serviceable for grating on pasta and whipping into omelets. It lacks the original's complex, creamy granularity and aromatic, fruity bite. But at $7.99 per pound (vs. upwards of $18 for the real deal), it also spares you a bite to the wallet.

For me, the most happily ironic side effect is how it's put the big PR on a pedestal, where it belongs. Genuine Parmigiano Reggiano is far too grand and special to be grated and stirred into anything short of risotto ai tartufi neri. Take a bite next time you're grating up a batch for pasta, and try to tell me I'm wrong.

It's like the difference between a fine riserva Chianti classico, an '83 Badia a Coltibuono, say, and a declassified sangiovese. You'd never pour the former into a pot to make bolognese, but you reasonably expect the everyday stuff that you're cooking with to be palatable and worthwhile on its own.

And this little Argentine is certainly all that.

6 comments:

Ed said...

Wait...So you're telling me that if I were to go into your fridge there would be no green container of pre-grated Kraft cheese? Un-American ;-)

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Good tip. (And dammit, now I'm hungry.) But how is it folded into a meatloaf?

Ed said...

Hmmmm...how does it go with SPAM?

Mr. Middlebrow said...

ed:
Nope, no Kraft "cheese," "cheez," or "pasteurized processed cheese food" in the house. Nor are there any Spaghetti-o's, Ravioli-o's or other canned pastas. Which I guess makes me un-Franco-American. ;^)

As for its SPAM-friendliness, I can't say first-hand, but I bet it'd be sublime. SPAM is love.

dennis:
Are you asking how does it complement meat loaf, or how does it become meatloaf through (the process of) folding? Doesn't matter. The zen-koan nature of your query has left me trapped in the inner circle of thought.

What is the sound of one meat loafing?

Mister Underhill said...

I love regianno. I will have to try this stuff some time.

I love most cheeses, really.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, once I revisited my comment I realized the conundrum... I'll try again... How does it taste when folded into a meat loaf? I don't wanna think any more about it turning into meat loaf, or cheese loaf, or a loaf of any kind.

Oh, and by the way, I saw the Graham Chapman tribute last night and was reminded of two of my favorites: Chapman's vaguely Texan big-wig movie producer who rejoices at Terry Jones' inexplicable neither yes-or-no exclamaion of "Splunge!", and the Oscar Wilde bit:

Wilde: "Milord, you are like a dose of clap."
King: "What?"
Whistler: "That was Shaw's."
Shaw: "You bastards!"

I've seen that sketch so many times, and I was still near some sort of internal rupture upon seeing it last night.