Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pecorino Romano

Few cheeses in the world can boast of such ancient roots as those of Pecorino Romano. For over two thousand years, the flocks of sheep that freely graze in the countryside in the regions of Latium and Sardinia have produced the milk from which this cheese is made. In ancient times, Romans already appreciated Pecorino Romano. 

Romano doesn't refer to Rome the city, but to the Romans. In the imperial palaces it was considered just the right touch to banquets, while its preservation capacity made it an ideal ration for the Roman legion in its journeys. Its use was so widespread among the Romans that a daily ration of 27 grams was established for Legionnaires, in addition to the staples of bread and einkorn soup! This cheese gave renewed strength and energy to the tired soldiers and today we know why: it provides an easily digestible source of energy.

Pecorino Romano is most often used on pasta dishes. Its distinctive aromatic, pleasantly sharp, very salty flavour means that in Italian cuisine, it is preferred for some pasta dishes with highly-flavoured sauces, especially those of Roman origin, such as bucatini all'amatriciana or spaghetti alla carbonara. The sharpness depends on the period of maturation, which varies from five months for a table cheese to at least eight months for a grating cheese. On the first of May, Roman families traditionally eat Pecorino with fresh fava beans, during a daily excursion in the Roman Campagna.

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