March’s cheese of the month is…
At Shisler’s we carry the aged version of Asiago (ah-SYAH-goh) Cheese, an Italian cheese more specifically known as Asiago d´Allevo. It is aged anywhere from three months to up to a year. The texture also varies from semi-firm to firm depending on how long it is aged and it contains small to medium holes throughout its body. It has a sweet and nutty flavor, reminiscent of Parmesan.
It is popular as a table cheese and is good when enjoyed with crackers, fruits, and red wine. It is treated as interchangeable with parmesan and romano cheeses in some cuisines.
History of Asiago Cheese
Asiago Cheese is an Italian cheese named after a region in Italy where it was first produced. This region is known as the Asiago High Plateau, which lies within the Italian Alps. As far back as the year 1000 AD, Asiago cheese was produced by farmers in this region for use locally. Now, it is manufactured commercially in northeast Italy, specifically in the provinces of Vincenza e Trento, Padua, and in Treviso.
How to Use Asiago Cheese
The aged cheese is often grated into salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago cheese is sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches. It can also be melted on a variety of dishes.
It is a brilliant cheese to bake into bread for a cheesy treat or grate over soft pretzels before baking. We also think it works particularly well with chicken dishes. Try pasta with asiago, chicken and a cream sauce or stuff a chicken breast with slices of Asiago and wrap it in pancetta or prosciutto before cooking. You could also try it instead of Parmesan when making a Caesar salad.
For a vegetarian dish, try roasted cauliflower with a cheese sauce. Add toasted flaked almonds for a crunchy topping or even some raisins if you like sweet and savory dishes.
Like many Italian cheeses, it is fairly universal when it comes to wine pairing. It is more commonly paired with reds such as Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and of course Chianti. For those who prefer white wines, Asiago cheese also pairs well with Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc. If you like to try cheeses with beer, we recommend an IPA or a Saison style beer, as the fruitiness will work well with the cheese.
Have you tried this cheese? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Let us know in the comments!
We know that sometimes time is a factor in your cooking decisions, which is why today we are sharing a 10-minute pasta sauce that you can whip up with plenty of time to spare.
Pop your pasta on the stove and you’ll have a sauce ready in the time that it takes to cook.
You will need:
1 clove garlic
20 black olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tin chopped tomatoes (or fresh as an alternative)
1 bunch fresh basil
Salt and pepper
- Finely slice the garlic and fry it in a pan with a small amount of olive oil for 1 minute.
- Finely dice the olives and capers together and add them to the pan. Fry for another minute, then pour in the chopped tomatoes.
- Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Tear in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you do have an afternoon free, why not try making fresh pasta to go with your sauce? Read on for the recipe!
Recipe – Makes enough fresh pasta for 6 people
You will need:
6 large eggs
600g ‘00’ flour
Method – making the dough:
- Put the flour onto a board or in a bowl.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs into it.
- Beat the eggs with a fork until they are smooth.
- Using your hands, incorporate a little of the flour into the eggs at a time, until everything is mixed together.
- Combine the dough until you have one smooth lump.
- Knead the dough to develop the gluten. Stop when the pasta feels smooth and silky.
- Cover the dough fully and rest it in the fridge for at half an hour.
Method – rolling the dough:
You can simply use a rolling pin to roll pieces of the dough until they are lovely and thin.
If you have a pasta machine, the best thing to do is follow the instructions that it comes with as some have different mechanisms. In general, though, this will be your basic method.
- Dust your work surface with some ‘00’ flour. Take a handful of pasta dough, press it flat and roll it through your machine on the widest setting.
- Move the pasta machine down a setting and roll the dough through again.
- Fold the pasta in half. Repeat steps 1 and 2 five or six times, folding each time.
- Once the pasta is very smooth, roll it through all of the settings on the machine from widest down to narrowest.
- If you are making tagliatelle or lasagne, rolling it until it is just slightly thicker than a playing card. For stuffed pasta including ravioli and tortellini, make it thin enough that you can clearly see your hand through it.
- Cut or shape your pasta before it dries. Use a clean, damp cloth to stop it from drying out if you need to.
Shaping and cutting fresh pasta:
For lasagne or tagliatelle, you will simply need a sharp knife to cut the pasta to the desired shape. Your pasta machine may have attachments to cut the pasta. If you are shaping the pasta we recommend finding video instructions that will show you the quickest method. Get the family involved to get the pasta ready before it dries!
To cook your pasta:
- Add pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water.
- It will take 1 to 3 minutes, so watch the pot closely.
- Test the pasta to ensure that it is just slightly al dente before serving.
Whether you’re using fresh pasta or dried, we know you’ll love this 10-minute pasta sauce!