Italy has more than 400 types of cheese, and each region specializes in its own type. If you’re a fan of Italian food and Italian dishes, you will enjoy reading this article.
Italian dishes are very satisfying and well-balanced already, and when you bring cheese to the mix, it becomes even more mouthwatering. Many Italian-origin dishes are made with different types of cheese, produced in different flavors, textures, and forms due to milk protein coagulation known as casein. They consist of proteins and fats from milk, including cows, goats, buffalos, and sheep.
Therefore, we can say that Italians love eating cheese and using it in their cooking. From grating cheese to filling it in pasta and risotto to even adding in the soup dishes and appetizers – you can see the use of cheese everywhere.
Popular Cheese Dishes of Italy
1. Risotto Alla Parmigiana
Risotto Alla Parmigiana or Parmesan Risotto is a delicious Italian cheese dish cooked until it reaches a creamy consistency. To make this dish, you need to slowly cook the Carnaroli rice in a rich broth that you can make from meat, fish, or vegetables. When finished, sprinkle a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese and an optional drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
2. Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe
Cacio e Pepe means “cheese and pepper” in Italian. It is an Italian version of mac and cheese, which includes these key ingredients: black pepper, cheese, and spaghetti. All of the ingredients last for a long time, making the dish suitable for shepherds who do not have a fixed location to move to.
You need rough-surfaced pasta to ensure that the sauce adheres well to the sauce. You’ll need hot boiling water per standard preparation and then pour over grated Pecorino cheese mixed with black pepper with a bit of hot, starchy cooking water. The heat melts the cheese, and the starches in the water help bind the pepper and cheese to the pasta. Let them all simmer down and mix, and you’re all set.
3.Baked Parmesan Cheese Wafers
Parmesan wafers are a popular Italian fast snack dish item. Making and using one of these can take your garnishing skills to a whole new level. To make it, you have to cook the finely grated cheese over a skillet for making each wafer until it melts and becomes slightly crunchy. You can serve them on top of salads or winter soups or eat them as a fancy snack.
4. Frico Friulano
Frico Friulano is a cheesy potato pancake made from potatoes. The traditional recipe originated from Northern Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, where the Montasio cheese is commonly used in foods. It’s not hard to make this dish at all. To make Frico Friulano, you have to follow the same procedure as making a pancake. All it requires is some Montasio cheese and some potatoes as the filling for the pancake, and that’s it.
5. Suppli Al Telefono
Suppli is an Italian light snack made of a ball of rice with tomato sauce. Just like the popular Sicilian Arancini, these Italian rice croquettes are named after a telephone because when you try to pull them apart, the long strings of mozzarella stretch between the halves just like an old-fashioned phone wire.
6. Burrata e Tartufo
Burrata is a traditional cheese made with cow milk and sometimes from buffalo milk as well. It is mozzarella’s beautiful and creamy relative. Even though most people like to eat it on its own, the earthy, black truffles add to the delicate, creamy taste of burrata wonderfully.
To make this recipe, mix soft, creamy burrata cheese with some black truffles. It is best to use fresh black truffles whenever possible, but if you cannot find them for some reason, you can use Urbani black truffle paste as it also does the job pretty neatly.
7. Mozzarella Milanese
Mozzarella Milanese is another typical Italian cheese dish from Naples. The Milanese portion of the dish’s name relates to breadcrumbs. To make this dish, mozzarella is cut into slices, floured, dipped in whisked eggs, and rolled in breadcrumbs. All that’s left is to fry in hot oil and then drain and serve it away.
If necessary, season the breadcrumbs with a pinch of parsley and pepper. When it’s served in Naples, the meal is occasionally seasoned with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
8. Pallotte Cacio E Uova
Pallotte Cacio E Uova, or cheese balls with eggs, is an Italian dish originating from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It is a classic example of country-style cooking. According to some people, these cheese and egg balls became known when people had leftover cheese and stale bread.
In order to make something good, the bread and cheese were combined with eggs and formed into balls before being cooked and stewed in a hearty tomato sauce. The popular addition to the balls includes garlic, finely sliced red bell peppers, and minced parsley are common additions to the ball. Some recipes require pecorino or parmesan as well.
9. Polenta Con La Ricotta
Polenta con la ricotta or Ricotta rice porridge is a traditional Italian cheese dish that requires coarse polenta flour as the main ingredient. The polenta-based meal uses ricotta cheese for an extra creamy taste and texture. Tomatoes, pancetta, onions, butter, Parmesan cheese, spices, and olive oil are also among the other components. The polenta is cooked, cooled, and then sliced into pieces.
The tomatoes, salt, pepper, onions, and pancetta are cooked in olive oil. After that, in an ovenproof dish, the butter is melted; and then the slices of polenta, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tomato sauce are layered, with the final layer of polenta on top.
10. Ricotta Frittata
Ricotta Frittata or a ricotta cheese omelet dish is another traditional Italian dish originating from Italy’s province Molise and is made with fried ricotta in olive oil. The ricotta is then sliced and dipped in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. The slices are fried until they get golden, then drained on paper towels before seasoning it with salt and serving.
When you prepare it in this way, the cheese develops a golden and crispy coating on the outside while remaining soft and creamy on the inside.
11. Gnocchi Alla Bava
Gnocchi Alla Bava, better known as Potato Gnocchi with Fontina cheese sauce, is also a traditional Italian dish from Italy’s Piedmont region. It is made from ingredients like potato gnocchi, butter, and Fontina, Swiss or Munster cheese.
You need to cut the cheese in slices and place it over layered gnocchi in a buttered baking dish. Its last layer is lathered with some butter, and then the baking dish is covered with foil. The dish is then cooked for a few minutes until it becomes brown from the top before being served.
12. Gnocchi Al Castelmagno
Gnocchi al Castelmagno is a classic Italian dish and a Cuneo specialty. It is cooked with potato gnocchi, butter, milk or cream, and Castelmagno cheese from the region. The gnocchi is cooked and combined with a sauce made of butter, chopped Castelmagno cheese, and cream.
Before serving, the dish is seasoned with pepper on top and if necessary, substitute half of the ordinary wheat flour with chestnut flour to make a beautiful seasonal dish.
13. Mozzarella Fritte
Mozzarella Fritte is a classic Italian dish in which small mozzarella balls are fried to make this dish. The cheese balls are floured, dipped in egg wash, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried till golden in hot oil.
There should be a crispy golden crust on the surface and a hot, melting, and milky cheese on the inside. To get the perfect crust, you need to drain the mozzarella balls before frying thoroughly. Mozzarella Fritte is always served hot, and it’s best to pair it with a tomato sauce for dipping.
Italian Cheese Dishes – Truly Worth Tasting!
Many cheese dishes originate from Italy, and many of them are an absolute delicacy. The Italians love making things out of fresh ingredients and, most importantly, with love. The best of these dishes include the Risotto Alla Parmigiana and Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe.
Be sure to check them out, along with the list of other cheesy dishes. In short, we can say that people cannot live without cheese in Italy as it is used nearly in 90 percent of their dishes, especially Parmesan cheese.