Pecorino is a term used to define Italian cheese made from 100% sheep’s milk. However, the American counterpart of the cheese is made from cow’s milk. Of the four Pecorino kinds of cheese that have received Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status under European Union law, Pecorino Romano is one of the most ancient types of cheese as well as the most famous outside of Italy. As per legislation, production of Pecorino Romano is allowed only on the islands of Sardinia, Lazio and in the Tuscan Province of Grosseto. All these varieties differ from each other, depending on their ageing period.
As the name suggests, the history of Pecorino Romano dates back to Roman times when it was a part of the staple diet of soldiers at war. Roman authors, including Varro, Pliny the Elder, Hippocrates and Columella have mentioned about cheese & its production technique, in their works. Even today, the cheese is made using the traditional method. The wheels get salted numerous times by hand, to deliver a fabulous taste. Its lengthy ageing time from 8 to 12 months results in a dry and granular texture and a strong taste. When young, the cheese has a soft and rubbery texture with a sweet and aromatic flavour. The flavour becomes sharper and smokier when aged for more than 8 months.
Pecorino Romano is one of the most widely used, sharper alternatives to Parmesan cheeses. Pecorino Romano is an excellent grating cheese over pasta dishes, breads and baking casseroles. Pair it with a glass of big, bold Italian red wine or a light beer.