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Do you prefer eating pasta without parmesan?

I've preferred eating my pasta without a dusting of parmesan because it's a pretty bold flavor and I find that it distracts, rather than compliments whatever pasta dish I may be eating. Out of curiosity, are there others out there who prefer their pasta unchristened?

It just may be that I had the canned dusty stuff as a kid. Thoughts, opinions appreciated. :)

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  1. Nope, the more good quality parm, the better! I actually prefer my pasta without a tomato or cream based sauce, just a little butter, garlic, tons of parm and fresh cracked black pepper. Now I want some, and I think my pantry is pastaless at the moment. Drat....

    2 Replies
    1. re: DarkRose

      YES! And let's not forget the crushed red pepper flakes cuz, ya gotta have heat.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        Heh, heat is a less important factor for me, but my partner would agree with you 100%!

    2. this question presumes all pasta dishes are the same.

      2 Replies
      1. re: thew

        Agree, Thew - so many different kinds of pasta/sauce/moods....

        When I do want some cheese (I use Locatelli) - I really use it..
        I sometimes cheese each forkfull!

        1. re: NellyNel

          It has to be Locatelli. The only kind of grating type cheese I have ever bought, cause it is what I grew up with, my mom grew up with and my grand-mother grew up with! IMO the "green can" stuff must be what plastic taste like.

      2. Mostly without....a little here...a little there.

        1. Interesting question. I only use parm (or any of the other aged grated cheeses) when A. I am having jarred sauce (hardly ever) or B. when I am having it plain as mentioned below with butter or olive oil, black pepper, garlic and some fresh basil.

          I agree that it can take away from the taste of the sauce or toppings. We love making sauces from scratch and trying new ingredient combinations. Our favourite right now is an entire bulb of roasted garlic, often paired with a roasted pepper. Man, I do love those aged cheeses but they aren't really needed, for my tastes, with all the good stuff we put in sauces!

          1. Parmigiano-reggiano is MSG in cheese form (in a good way) for most oil-and-garlic or tomato-based sauces. I never really understood this until I bought a Microplane grater and a hunk of the real stuff. Canned parmesan, on the other hand, was always something I used because I felt it was expected rather than because it was any good.

            1. Absolutely............................No Parmesan

              I prefer Pecorino Romano on my red sauce (non fish) pasta

              1. No cheese dusting for me. I want to taste what the chef created. Even at home.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Steve

                  But what if the cheese is part of what the chef intended? I can think of several of my own dishes that I mean to put cheese on, and I don't consider that adulterating it at all.

                  Why would a chef offer cheese with something if he thought it would obscure what he created?

                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    I'm talking about putting it on yourself. How does the chef know if you put it on or not? How am I supposed to know if that's what the chef intended? Really, I think it's a crutch. Dusting all your pasta dishes! Why are they all supposed to have that flavor component?

                    1. re: Steve

                      "Why are they all supposed to have that flavor component?"

                      they aren't all. why does all pasta need the same solution?

                2. In general, no.
                  Hardly ever, in fact. I don't claim to be any kind of pasta expert, I just know what i like.
                  I don't use the canned dusty stuff, haven't since I could get the better stuff, except for my mom's garlic toast, which is better with the green canister stuff. Itt's made with real garlic, however, and no garlic salt or powder.

                  1. There aren't many yes/no answers in my food world.

                    1. Parmigiano-Reggiano is almost an essential in our household these days. Mainly because a few thick cut pieces and a glass of Nebbiolo make a wonderful first course all on their own. But to answer your question it depends on the dish and how much one uses on a particular dish as well. So for a strong dish like chicken liver sauce over pasta I'd use a good dose of it. I can enjoy the flavors of both the richness of the cheese and livers. On the otherhand I made a seafood risotto the other day and wouldn't want to mask the oceany briney taste and aroma by using PR with it.

                      1. As others have pointed out, it all depends on the particular dish - and the cheese should be treated as a condiment or seasoning, not as an additional ingredient (iow, use a light hand unles the recipe specifically calls for it, like many risottos do, or to add more intense flavor to an aglio/oilio).

                        For example, I like a dusting of reggiano on a bolognese, some pecorino romano on an amatriciana or an arrabiata (the saltier flavor complements the spiciness), and no cheese at all on any seafood based pasta or risotto. The microplane graters produce light flakes of cheese, which I prefer to the granular bits produced by standard graters (or food processors).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Striver

                          +1

                        2. With the exception of lasagna which already has lots of cheese, there are not too many Italian tomato-based dishes that do not benefit from a few shavings of parmesan, in my opinion.

                          1. Shaved fresh parm as opposed to the shaker can or shredded stuff for me thank you. Or, I'd rather forgo the parm altogether.

                            1. The canned dusty stuff is a waste of time. That being said, I completely agree with you when it comes to the real stuff. If put generously on a red sauce, it completely changes the flavor. I despise marinara sauce and most red sauces for that matter, because I find them bitter. The parm topping only enhances the bitterness. I've shunned pasta over the last year and a half, but when I did used to make it once or twice a week, it was farfalle or fusili with butter, garlic, snap peas, bacon and a generous shaving of parm (and when I say shaving, I don't mean so it was like dust, I liked slivers of it that would almost melt on contact).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jhopp217

                                I find that I can't eat a red sauce without a couple of teaspoons of sugar (added to the pot, not my plate!) ; some may be disgusted or confused, but it really balances out the watery acidity of the tomatoes, and gives it body in my opinion.

                                Whenever I serve bolognese to guests, there are always second helpings, but I'd rather not tell them what the magic is :)

                              2. Almost always Parmesan or Pecorino.