I've tried making Cacio e Pepe a few times, using a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. In Cacio e Pepe, you boil pasta in a limited amount of water, then mix some of the hot starchy water with grated pecorino Romano cheese. The cheese melts/dissolves in the water to form a cheesy liquid which is poured over the pasta.
I've had good luck doing this with Romano, even using domestic cow's milk Romano. But one time I was short on Romano, and tried using about 1/4th Romano and 3/4ths imported Parmesan. When I added the starchy water, some of the cheese dissolved--the Romano, I assume--but most of it coagulated into a gooey, stretchy mass.
What is the difference between Romano and Parmesan, that would make them behave so differently when mixed with hot, starchy water? Are there other similar cheeses--asiago for example--that would work well in this recipe?
The difference between Pecorino Romano and Parmiggiano Reggiano (Parmesan) is that the first is made from sheep milk, the last from cow milk.I think this is the reason that they behave so differently, because they are made from milk of very different animals.The closest type of cheese to the pecorino romano might be the pecorino sardo.
Pecorino Romano is a heavily salted, aged cheese. As a result, it tends not to "melt", just as feta, haloumi, and queso fresco tend not to melt (all are also heavily salted cheeses). Presumably mizithra or ricotta salata would work equally well in the ATK recipe, although they wouldn't taste the same.
If you inadvertently purchase a different kind of pecorino (sardo, for example), or even a fairly young pecorino romano, you'll find that you have the "gooey mess" problem with that procedure.
Now, a comment: the ATK recipe for Cacio e Pepe sounds bizarre to say the least. The normal way of making Cacio e Pepe is:
If you follow the traditional recipe, then you can use a wider variety of grating cheeses without worrying about it becoming a gooey mass.
. Salting the pasta water. I've learned this trick some time ago and it has been critical to producing the best-tasting pasta. I really want the pasta to be the point of the dish, with the sauce... of the starchy pasta water to the sauce and don't want to give that up. The problem is that when I've salted the pasta water, it means adding it to my sauce brings along all that salt--to the point... fulling draining the pasta after boiling. Adding starchy pasta water to my sauce. The starchy water really brings everything together. You could say it thickens it, but not like a roux, as some have
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I've been reading the Geek Cookbook, and decided to try the Mac & Cheese recipe from it, making the sauce from scratch - seemed simple enough! I've never made a Bechamel or Mornay sauce before...). I used a pre-grated mix of mozarella, cheddar and romano. After mixing in the cheese, the sauce took on a fine, lumpy consistency - something like pureed cauliflower. Bringing it back to a simmer caused some of the surface to start to resemble a more normal looking mac & cheese sauce, but stirring returned the sauce to its previous grainy consistency. Once it was simmering briskly, I left
meat main so I'm not limited to chicken? Ideally I'd like to feature the flavors of the pasta as the main. I tried hot Italian sausage last night. It was OK, but I felt that the sausage competed...I absolutely love pasta caprese. I have a great recipe for it that provides perfectly creamy mozarella and tasty tomatoes and uses up the leaves on my basil plant. It's a great dish. I also don't consider a meal without some form of protein that isn't cheese to be a meal, and vegetarian meals aren't considered kindly by those I cook for, so I really need at least some meat with every meal. So
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I noticed that good Romano costs 1/3 as much as good Parmesan. I know that Romano is aged much less than Parmesan is and that accounts for the difference in cost. However, the flavors of the two are very similar to me. In what situations would it be important to use only Parmesan instead of substituting cheaper Romano cheese?
I love using a pasta pot/steamer where there is an inner "colander" pot so that you can pull all the pasta out easily. BUT... in all of the ones I've seen, the inner colander doesn't go all the way to the bottom. There is a gap of about 1.5 to 2", plus the 1/4 space of the bottom of colander itself. The means I have to boil a LOT more water. That takes more time, uses more water and energy. It seems like a gap of just 1/2" or so would be sufficient to "insulate" the bottom of the pasta from the hot bottom of the pan. (And I've boiled pasta for years without a colander inside (so zero gap
What would be an appropriate substitute for parmesan (parmagiano reggiano) in a recipe?
I've used a recipe before (can't find it anymore, sorry) where I steamed sticks of celery root. The ingredients I remember are garlic (whole cloves steamed together with the celery), probably a small amount of water or vegetable broth and butter - or perhaps olive oil - (for the steaming) and Parmesan sprinkled over in the end. After steaming in a small amount of liquid covered with parchment until tender the vegetables were removed and the resulting broth cooked until thick and used as a glace. My question is, what could I do to be able to cook this if I don't have Parmesan. As the dish