Pecorino Romano is a hard cheese, cooked or half-cooked, obtained with sheep’s milk. We are talking about a PDO cheese (Protected Denomination of Origins); this means that the entire working process – from livestock breeding to cheese seasoning – must take place only in a particular geographical area .
Pecorino Romano is the oldest Italian pecorino cheese and it was first created in the roman countryside. The first testimonies of this famous cheese date back to the Roman Empire, when quoted in some works by famous Latin authors, such as Pliny the Elder and Virgil. Its long conservation and high nutritional value made it a basic food in the supply of the Roman army, along with spelled soup and bread.
How Pecorino Romano is made
Pecorino Romano is cheese produced only with whole sheep milk.
The first step is processing the milk at a maximum temperature of 68 degrees for no more than 15 minutes.
The milk coagulates at a temperature of between 38 and 40 degrees and then it is added lamb rennet. Once the curd is hardened, it is broken into clots, subsequently cooked to a maximum temperature of 48 degrees.
At this point, the cheese is ready to be salted and then seasoned. The seasoning varies from five to eight months and usually takes place in cells, where temperature and humidity are always keep under control; in a few cases, it takes place in Etruscan-Roman tuff grottoes spread in the territories around Roma.
The Roman pecorino has some organoleptic characteristics that make it a unique cheese.
- It comes in a cylindrical shape with a diameter between 25 and 40 cm. Slight variations are tolerated in relation to particular conditions during the production.
- The crust is thin and oily, ivory or straw-colored.
- Inside it is compact, with a color that varies from white to straw-yellow..
- The flavor varies according to the type of Pecorino Romano: the table cheese is aromatic and slightly spicy, while the cheese to be grated is spicy and intense.
Pecorino Romano is very much loved abroad, so that is marketing is almost for the 70% in the United States.
Uses and pairings
Pecorino Romano is mostly grated as a dressing for pasta; thanks to it intense and salted taste, it is used for tasty recipes. A few (and famous) examples of its use are Amatriciana, Carbonara, Arrabbiata, cacio e pepe and Pesto Genovese.
Anyway, pecorino Romano is also a good table cheese, to be enjoyed with a simple piece of salted bread or with beans, chicory, eggs, potatoes and broccoli.
We are talking about a pecorino, so a strong taste cheese, so it matches with red wines.
For the less mature Pecorino Romano, we suggest you the Velletri and the Cesanese del Piglio; for the seasoned one, instead, Brunello di Montalcino, Velletri and Carignano del Sulcis.