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5 Cheeses You Can Thank Italians For

There are as few components of Italian cooking as widely beloved as cheese. Who doesn’t love delicious layers of cheese on your pizzas, pasta, and lasagna? While developed all over Europe and in parts of South America, several cheeses actually have Italian origins. Here are five cheeses you can be grateful the Italians invented.

Starting right at the top, no Italian dish is complete without a delicate sprinkling of parmesan. This cheese is a hard, crumbly cheese with a strong salty and buttery flavor. Parmesan is at the core of all Italian dining, and you’d be hard pressed to find a meatball recipe that doesn’t include it with the meat! It’s often in a grated/powdered style, or sliced into paper thin slices for draping over salads. If you’re going to be using cheese in some Italian food, best to start with parmesan, its where it’s all began.

Moving right from Parmesan into the most common cheese used in in restaurants and Italian dishes everywhere, is Mozzarella. That’s right, the cheese on top of your delicious pizza most likely has a mozzarella base. That’s because Mozzarella melts evenly and becomes stringy and delicious in its creaminess. Once you’ve rolled out your pizza dough and added your sauce, it’s time to layer on slices of mozzarella for that perfect melty-pizza experience. Yum! Look for this delicious cheese on Sam & Louie’s Meatball Hoagie, Pizza Burger, and other delicious eats.

A milder, smoother cheese, best for sandwiches and panini, provolone is a very clean and simple cheese, which makes it amenable to whatever you’re doing with it. Drape some heavy slices of provolone over your next roast beef sandwich before you put it in the oven, or better yet, use it between some slices of ciabatta for the best grilled cheese of your life. While melty and mild, provolone might just be the perfect hot-sandwich cheese.

Crisp and smoky, asiago cheese is another Italian invention, and one of the stronger flavored cheeses in the Italian canon. Its nuttiness is robust, which makes it ideal for working into snacks and appetizers, something to compliment the saltiness of a bowl of olives in oil, or a salami stick. Add Asiago to your baked goods like breads and focaccia. You can’t go wrong!

Rounding out the five, and of course, perfect for dessert, is ricotta. Ricotta is an interesting Italian cheese to finish on as it’s used often in the finishing plate of a meal, dessert! That’s right, this cheese is used in cannolis and in other delicious Italian pastries. Ricotta is the ideal cheese for this, creamy with hints of sweetness. Try whipping it with sugar and using a piping bag to fill cannoli shells for a delicate Italian treat.

Delicious! Five cheeses you have to thank Italians for. Not to mention five of the most critical Italian cheeses in cuisine, in cooking, and of course in Italian catering. If you haven’t tried these yet, get out there, there’s a whole world of Italian cheese for you to try! Don’t forget to pop into Sam & Louie’s for a few of them.