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Parmesan Cheese

How to Use Parmesan Cheese in Mac and Cheese

Parmesan Cheese is easily one of the most well known in the world. It’s the cheese the waiters grate over your plate at Olive Garden and is the cheese you typically see in videos where someone is tossing their pasta on a large wheel of cheese. It’s also a cheese that is rife with scandal.

How to Use Parmesan Cheese in Mac and Cheese

Over at Mac and Cheese Club I talk about opener and closer flavors in ingredients. Pay attention to how long the flavor takes to hit you when you take a bite. Sometimes it develops immediately, and these are opener flavors. Other times they take a few seconds to show up, and this is what I call closers. Well-balanced recipes make use of both opener and closer ingredients so there is consistent flavor throughout the entire time you’re eating.

Parmesan is one of my favorite closer options. It’s relatively consistent in flavor, and it’s easy to get your hands on. I keep Parmesan on hand to serve as the closer for any experimental cheeses I bring home.

Legal Status of Parmigiano-Reggiano

In Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano has a P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) status. This cheese has stringent requirements for how and where it’s created. In the United States, there are less strict requirements, so cheese is marketed as Parmesan.

Why You Should Avoid Pre-Grated Parmesan

When cheese is first grated, it tends to stick to itself. This is great when your goal is to have it melt cohesively into a recipe, but not so great when your goal is to have aesthetically pleasing individual shreds in a bag on a grocery store shelf. To combat this, manufacturers include anti-caking and other additives that help preserve the integrity of their cheese. This is fine if you’re sprinkling it over a salad or eating it by the handful from the bag, but unfortunately this also prevents the cheese from melting smoothly into your dishes.

Where to Buy Parmesan Cheese

Note: This article contains affiliate links to products that I love and use to make mac and cheese in my own kitchen. When you click links here and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my Affiliate Link Policy here.

Mac and Cheese Recipes that Use Parmesan Cheese


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