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"Real" parmesan vs. the green can: A shameful admission [moved from Home Cooking]

Generally I'm on the snobby side when it comes to food. I'm positively *eager* to spend double digits per pound for hunks of parm to grate myself, and to refer to the Kraft stuff as "sawdust."

But I keep trying the real thing and -- at least in the pasta-topping application -- I keep thinking, Is that all there is? I buy it, I grate it, and it ... dissolves into nothingness. I add more, and still I taste little if anything.

Am I alone? Am I lacking a certain gene? Or do the advantages of the real stuff not translate to the pasta-sprinkle realm?

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  1. How much are you adding? I like a good handful of parmesan or pecorino on my pasta. There's a huge difference between the good stuff, real parmigiano reggiano or grana padano, and the green can which I find truly tastelsss.

    1. I buy a pre-grated Parm-Romano blend. The Romano kicks in an assertive flavor which is hard to miss.

      1. It's because you're using parmesan and not peccorino romano (as mentioned above). "Grated cheese" in our world has never ever ever been parmesan but always romano. And a little goes a long way although I keep going until I have cheese with a side of sauce.

        2 Replies
        1. re: missykins

          Sorry but I don't agree. Pecorino romano is sharper but parmigiano reggiano has unique depth. It's nutty with a full complex flavor which romano just doesn't have IMO. I usually steal several slices when I'm grating a block.

          1. re: cheryl_h

            Hmm, I agree with eating it in chunks but grating it over pasta, I think doesn't do too much for either the cheese or the pasta dish. I guess it's a reason to make pasta and try both!!

        2. I am not a huge fan of parmesan on pasta, but shave a bunch of slices and serve it with arugula, good olive oil, and fresh ground pepper... romano would overpower it (as would ricotta salata)

          1. No no no!!! Go to an Italian Supermarket and they will grate you FRESH stuff that looks and acts just like the canned stuff... heck even the tubs at Trader joes are so much better than it!!

            --Dommy!