Parmesan is the most misunderstood of the cheeses. It sits on the table at the pizza place (huh? shouldn’t cheese stay in the refrigerator?), it comes shredded in tubs next to the Kraft singles in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, but it’s also in a green can on the shelf next to the spaghetti sauce. But did you know that none of these are authentic Parmesan cheese?
Real Parmesan cheese is a hard cow’s milk cheese that’s actually called Parmigiano Reggiano, and by Italian law, must come from the eponymous region of Italy. If the cheese you find isn’t labeled with a stamp that it’s authentic, then it’s made in the same fashion as the Parmigiano Reggiano, but it’s not the real deal.
I can find it at Sam’s club, and it’s about a 1.5 pound wedge pre-packaged in plastic. At specialty cheese shops and Whole Foods, you can even buy it right off the big wheel of cheese. You will not believe the flavor difference between fresh Parmesan cheese and that other stuff. You’ll never go back!
So now that you’ve got the good stuff, you have to grate it. If you need just a little, you can use your microplane. You can also use a vegetable peeler to get long slivers of cheese for salads. But I prefer to grate it in the food processor. By the way, go on over and enter my Magimix 14 cup food processor giveaway!
First, cut the rind off the cheese. If you’re thrifty, you can save it for flavoring soups or something like that. I typically throw it away… Second, cut the cheese into 2 inch cubes and place them in the food processor fitted with a regular blade.
Then, put on the lid and just process the cheese until it’s the texture you like, it only takes a minute or two.
Store the grated cheese in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. It won’t go bad, but the flavor diminishes after a few days. Our family can easily use this much cheese in a week! Sprinkle it on salads, pasta, chicken, or plain rice.