Due FormaggiBy Ilyse Rathet
February 19, 2019
Ricotta and pecorino are prominent cheeses in the Italian pantry. The word ricotta comes from the Latin phrase “twice-cooked,” and describes a light and creamy cheese that tastes best fresh. We found our favorite ricotta at the daily antipasto buffet of Sotto Le Stelle in Teramo, Abruzzo. It was a perfect base around which to nest roasted peppers, grilled eggplant, fresh tomatoes and other field-fresh vegetables; we had some memorable lunches there. Pecorino lends itself to various durations of aging, from fresco to highly aged. The traveler will find pecorino to be almost as ubiquitous at the Italian table as pane and pasta. It works well as pasta stuffing and topping, especially in a classic amatriciana. We especially enjoy it on cheese plates.
Pecorino’s history has long been connected with Abruzzo’s. Abruzzese sheepherders produced and ate pecorino for centuries as they did the transumanza, a twice-annual migration of shepherds from the Abruzzo highlands to the lowlands of Puglia. The herders would sometimes stop to sell pecorino, hides, and wool as they searched for green fields and warm weather. The Italians’ images of these shepherds, the mythic butteri, resembled the American cowboy.
Because of pecorino’s importance to Abruzzese history, Chef Dino Paganelli – consultant chef to Nicola Delaurentiis of Casina Rossa – chose to include it in our Due Formaggi Pasta Sauce, a “two-cheese” sauce blending ricotta and pecorino cheese. When you open a jar, the complex and earthy smell transports you to the dusty back roads of the Appenines, where sheep still graze to produce pecorino. The light ricotta reminds us of the fresh cheeses from the kitchen of Nicola’s mother, Domenica. Our chef combined these two cheeses with herbs and tomato to make a sauce with enough layers of flavor to be nicknamed “lasagna in a jar”.
We hope you enjoy this sauce from Chef Dino and Casina Rossa, selected and imported by RITROVO®.
Here are some ideas for Due Formaggi:
- As a topping or filling for rolled Lastra di Pasta
- As a spread for baked chicken breast or white fish
- Atop grilled eggplant or veggies
- As a filling for mini-pastry cups – an easy appetizer
- Paired with your favorite RITROVO SELECTIONS™ Pasta
- Mixed with Biaitalia Corn Couscousfor a quick meal
- Tossed with cooked rice
- As a stuffing for roasted bell peppers