To celebrate the debut of Rachael’s latest cookbook, Everyone is Italian on Sunday, in stores today, Rachael is revealing her favorite Italian cheeses and giving tips on how to use them.
Rach calls this versatile and ubiquitous cheese “the king of all cheeses” and likes its nutty flavor.
Recommended Recipe: Ribollita
This is one of Rachael’s hubby John’s favorite foods. She calls it a “stinky cheese,” but points out that it’s easy to melt and delicious served with charred bread or mixed into polenta.
Recommended Recipe: Chicken and Mushrooms with Taleggio Polenta
Fontina Val d’Aosta
This is an aged fontina with great flavor. Rach uses it for Italian versions of Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches. It also works great with sage and she sometimes uses it to stuff veal chops.
Recommended Recipe: Veal Chops Valdostana with Oven Frites and Haricots Verts
Rachael has a tip for this Italian favorite – make sure you dry it properly before using it to top pizzas or shred. Rach drains the liquid, wraps it in paper towels, and chills overnight in the fridge.
Recommended Recipe: Christopher Kimball's Thin-Crust Pizza
Rach prefers sheep’s milk ricotta, and like fresh mozzarella, suggests draining the liquid off Ricotta before using it. She also points out that it’s very easy to make your own (the recipe is in her book!) Homemade Ricotta is excellent when spread on toast, drizzled with honey or Olive Oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Delish!
Recommended Recipe: Valerie Bertinelli's Sicilian Love Cake
“If you love Feta, you’ll love Ricotta Salata,” Rach says. It’s ricotta drained of its whey, and can be grated or crumbled, and can be used in pasta or salads.
Recommended Recipe: Drunken Spaghetti with Sweet Roasted Beets and Ricotta Salata
Similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino is a little tangier and saltier, and is made from sheep’s milk. Young Pecorinos can be paired with fruit likes pears and apples, while reserve Pecorinos can be baked in the oven with fruit and nuts and finished with a drizzle of honey for a first course or even dessert!
Recommended Recipe: Katie Lee's Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Pecorino
Rachael loves gorgonzola because it melts down easily and becomes a delicious base for cream sauce.
Recommended Recipe: Pork or Veal Chops with Sage and Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Walnuts
To order a copy of Everyone is Italian on Sunday for yourself, click here.