Posted by: lisetta | April 4, 2011

Pecorino con rucola

I adore sheep’s milk cheeses, in whatever form they arrive. Bagliani’s Market had several varieties I hadn’t seen before, including a younger, semi-soft version of pecorino with arugula. How exciting! Have a look:

The cheese is actually white -- turns out I only have yellow light in my apartment! If you prefer to see a professional image of the cheese, check out the Shutterstock image.

Its flavor has got a slightly peppery bite, but the arugula doesn’t stand out as a primary flavor. I think this is the perfect table cheese, and imagine it would go over well at a party whose guests include cheese connoisseurs. 🙂 It seems not to be widely available online, but Isola Imports sells a 2 pound block for $21. The story behind Isola Imports echoes the story behind Bagliani’s: another family business driven by passion:

We offer over 400 products and gifts on the site and we stand behind each of those products with a simple guarantee; “your taste is the only one that matters”, if for any reason you are not satisfied we want you to send it back and we will attempt to replace it with a product that pleases you. We spend many weeks a year in Italy and are fanatical about finding new and unique products to bring to you. We look for only the producers that offer authentic products produced using traditional production techniques.

We are hoping that you will become part of our extended family, sharing in the passion we have for the Italian culture. In Italy food is culture. It is the element of society that brings people together to talk, laugh and share their life stories. Isola, which means island, stands for the passion and sense of family that we share. We want you to visit our island of gourmet specialties and “Savor the memory and Taste the tradition” of Italy.
Sounds like another great company to support. If only I could trust myself with a 2-pound block of cheese! 🙂
It turns out that there are lots and lots of varieties of pecorino cheeses, which are mostly produced in Tuscany, Sicily, Sardinia and Lazio. I was unimpressed with pecorino toscano a few years back, but find these younger versions with flavors somewhat intriguing.
Fattorie Covelli in Calabria sells a mature and a fresh version as well as flavored versions with peperoncino, for example, and another with arugula-radicchio-pistachio, and another with walnuts. We can’t order them from here, but you get the idea of the variety!
John (CH) over at the CheeseForum.org shares pictures he took of the variety of pecorinos he saw in Tuscany. Of interest are the versions with arugula and pepperoncino, and versions of rounds aged in ash, hay, walnut leaves grape skins of brunello! Seems the varieties are endless…just what I love about exploring Italian food.
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Responses

  1. I’m going to have to journey down to Hammonton to check out all these goodies including this unusual pecorino.

  2. You know I”m a pushover for anything with rughetta – I like the idea of adding it to cheese especially! I just planted my arugula last weekend. I read that it can take the chill, so I’m going for it. 🙂

  3. @Linda, I’m not sure how far away Hammonton is from Princeton, but I think it’s totally worth a trip, especially if you make it to the Pine Barrens. @Vickie, congrats on the early planting! I haven’t dug my garden yet, but want to put in arugula and swiss chard soon. Pecorino and arugula are a great pairing in pasta and rice dishes. 🙂


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