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Apr 3, 2009 10:05 AM

Alternative to parmesan cheese? (split from Ontario board)

Sorry to the OP for hijacking the thread...

We go through bucketloads of parmesan - mife wife is Italian and seems to use in place of salt.

Is there another cheese people would recommend grated on pasta, artichokes, frittata,etc. that is similar to parmesan.

Extra matured (extra belegen) or old (oude) Gouda have beautiful flavours and similar textures, but the taste is different.

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  1. Reggiano has similar qualities, a bit sharper, and made from sheep's milk rather than Holstein. Sometimes I can get it at Costco but they always have Parmigiano, both are in the $26/kg range. I have also liked 6 yr old Balderson cheddar for grating, and they sell it for $21/kg.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      i think that regianno is a type of parmesan isn't it

      1. re: trouttr

        yes, Reggiano is Parmesean Reggiano- part skim, unpasteurized cow's milk.

        Pecorino Romano is sheep's milk.

        Try Grana Padano- made the same way that Parm is, in italy, but "legally" allowed to be made by more producers in a larger area that Parm Reggiano, so, cheaper. And the Costco rec. is a good one. You'll usually have to buy at least 3/4 pound at a time, but at a much better rate than a grocery or specialty store.

    2. asiago would be the knee-jerk response

      though i like a drier local gouda just as well.

      your local cheesemonger might know about lots of reasonably priced, interesting grating cheeses, heck i can't keep up with all the great small-creamery stuff coming out.

      1. You may want to try a greek cheese Mizithra, made from sheep's milk (I think) or similar to that would be an Italian Ricotta Salata. Very salty, nice texture.

        1. in poor regions of Italy before they could afford dairy, people use to fry stale breadcrumbs in olive oil and sprinkle it on pasta and meat "poor mans" parmesan my nonna calls it ;-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: umbushi plum

            My outlaw family (Sicilian) still do that today in fennel and sardine pasta. I'm going to have to google this....Pasta con sarde e finocchio.

            1. re: Paulustrious

              ha, my nonna still lives in a small town outside of Naples and she makes a mean fennel and sardine pasta with poor man parmesan to, and she always puts it on top of her cauliflower pasta mmmmm

          2. I"ve used pecorino as a substitute for cooking.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Lucia

              I've been following up on all the suggestions. We've had pecorino before, but using three degrees of information separation google led me to:


              1. re: Paulustrious

                That stuff looks awfully frightening to me - I've seen photos in my Sardinian cookbook. I think Sardinians used to sneak it into the U.S., but I don't think it is available in stores, etc. If you can, try some Pecorino Sardo - the aged one.