Many people think that the massive wheels of Grana Padano, the semi-aged hard Italian cheese, are maybe a cheaper knock-off of better known Parmigiana-Reggiano, says Lou DiPalo, part of the fourth generation to run DiPalo’s Fine Foods in Little Italy. In fact, he says, Grana is a great cheese in its own right and well-known in Italy. Grano Padano is a subtler and less nutty and salty than Parmigiano, says DiPalo, with a more delicate flavor that he prefers on risotto or when you don’t want to overpower a dish.
via Know your Italian cheeses: Grana Padano vs. Parmigiana-Reggiano – New York Daily News.
The above link does not exist anymore… will up-date soon.
Fresh is best
None of that dried Parmesan cheese that you get in packets will ever find its way into my cooking, you cannot compare the flavour against fresh Parmesan. Sometimes I like having more visible Parmesan cheese in my food, so shaving the Parmesan cheese with my swivel vegetable peeler makes it an easy job.
Run a swivel vegetable peeler along the narrow side of a chunk of Parmesan to obtain thin shavings of cheese.
Add a burst of flavour and make your food look good:
- Top a caesar salad with some Parmesan shavings or toss them with a green leafy salad with fresh strawberries and balsamic dressing
- Scatter some Parmesan shavings over a freshly baked pizza before serving
- Before serving I like to garnish risotto and pasta dishes with a small bundle of Parmesan shavings, piled on top of the food.