FOOD & DRINK

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

This week, week I’ve teamed up with tal- tal ented food stylist Ge­orgie Socra­tous to talk to you about the won­der­ful world of Ital­ian cheese. Whether it’s pecorino, Parme­san, moz­zarella, ri­cotta, fontina or Gor­gonzola ( I could go on), cheese is ar­guably one of the most im­por­tant in­gre­di­ents in Ital­ian cook­ing. It’s used in so many dif­fer­ent ways and in all types of dishes, savoury and sweet, that it seemed only right to give you a bunch of recipes that cel­e­brate Ital­ian cheeses in all their di­ver­sity.

First off, give th­ese beau­ti­fully sweet and salty Pears & Pecorino a go. Hail­ing from the cen­tral and south­ern re­gions of Italy, pecorino is made from sheep’s milk and is typ­i­cally a hard, tangy cheese. Shaved and melted onto soft grid­dled pears, this is a great idea for a savoury starter which will lit­er­ally melt in your mouth.

Next up, this lovely, soft Baked Ri­cotta can be served ei­ther as a savoury or a sweet dish – the recipe has been kept as easy-go­ing as pos­si­ble so you can ad­just the flavours to make it ex­actly how you want it. Choose be­tween sprin­kling with chilli, oregano and mar­jo­ram and serv­ing with a lovely hunk of bread, or driz­zling on honey and zest­ing cit­rus fruits on top for an oh-so-tasty dessert.

Fi­nally, for a slightly lighter ver­sion of clas­sic Ital­ian tiramisu, this recipe swaps mas­car­pone for a mix of ri­cotta and re­duced-fat cream cheese. I’m not sure how the Ital­ians would feel about us bend­ing the rules, but the ri­cotta gives it a de­li­cious tang. Serve in cute mis­matched glasses or teacups, and top with choco­late shav­ings and choco­late-cov­ered cof­fee beans for an im­pres­sive fin­ish. En­joy!

Su­per­mar­kets stock a great se­lec­tion of Ital­ian cheeses th­ese days – make an ef­fort to check out the deli coun­ters for more choice and don’t be afraid to ask for a lit­tle taster or ad­vice if you’re un­sure.

When­ever you’re buy­ing cheese, steer clear of the pre-grated stuff – it’s gen­er­ally the poor- qual­ity odds and ends that get scraped up and then lumped into a packet.

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