The gooey, melting-in-mouth, savory cheese makes you drool every time you see a pizza loaded with cheese or any other ‘cheesy’ recipe. Asiago cheese is one kind that goes well with almost all kinds of dishes and beers. In this Tastessence post, we shall tell you what exactly Asiago cheese is and what it is used for.
Did You Know?
Asiago cheese is a great option for preventing osteoporosis.
Cheese is one product that is loved all over the world. All cheese lovers out there would agree with us that like chocolates, it can just make their day better! It adds richness and flavor to whichever dish it may be added to. There are many types of cheese, and knowing the difference among them is equally important as not all kinds of cheese go with all kinds of dishes. They all have different textures and flavors.
One such is the Asiago cheese that comes from Veneto, Italy. It is one of the typical food products of the Veneto region. Traditionally, in this area, cheese was made from sheep’s milk, but nowadays, it is made from cow’s milk, raw or pasteurized. It is sold at different stages while it is in the aging process, thus making it different in texture and flavor. Asiago is also considered as one of the best cheeses used for cooking because it has a mild but noticeable flavor.
What is Asiago Cheese?
Asiago is a type of hard Italian cheese that is made from whole cow’s milk. The curds are cooked to give a denser texture to the cheese. And after it is prepared, it can be consumed fresh or aged. It is an Italian DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) product, which means that the product will be considered genuine only if it is produced in its area of origin.
Depending upon the aging process, it is sold at different stages, fresh or a few months old. Therefore, it may have a different flavor and texture at different stages. When the cheese is fresh, it has a smooth texture, mild flavor, and is whitish in color. When it is aged for at least six months, it becomes crumbly and light yellow in color, and gives off a bit tangy and pungent flavor. If aged for nine months, it has a fruity, spicy, and sharp flavor as compared to the fresh one, and the texture becomes firm and hard.
Based on aging, Asiago cheese has been classified into the following types:
Pressed Asiago or Asiago Pressato
It is a fresh Asiago prepared from cow’s whole milk. The milk is heated and a substance called ‘rennet’ is added to it to form curd. This curd is then tenderly pressed in a cheesecloth and allowed to be aged for about 40 days. The cheese dough that is formed as a final product is soft, buttery, and white or off-white in color with an elastic crust and a smooth texture.
Asiago d’Allevo is prepared from a mixture of skimmed milk and whole milk. It has a crumbly texture as compared to the fresh type since it is aged for a longer period. It is aged for different periods of time; hence, giving the following classification:
■ Asiago Mezzano: Mezzano is aged for about 3-8 months. It is straw-colored and has a bit of a sweet taste. The paste is compact and elastic.
■ Asiago Vecchio: Vecchio is aged for about 9-18 months and has a hard paste. It is straw-colored and is bitter to taste.
■ Asiago Stravecchio: Stravecchio is aged for more than 18 months. It is very hard and has a grainy paste. It is amber in color, and bitter and spicy to taste.
What is Asiago Cheese Used for?
The best use of Asiago cheese is when it is grated and added to different dishes and recipes like bread, pasta, risotto, salads, etc. It goes well as the only cheese in a recipe or can be combined with fresh Parmesan cheese that is strong and full of flavor. Let us check out how it can be used in …
Asiago cheese can be added to bread to give it a rich and nutty taste. You can mix it in the bread dough before baking it or sprinkle it on the loaf for a cheesy bread. For more enhanced flavors, you can also add other types of cheese like Parmesan or Romano.
Shred Asiago cheese on top for garnishing. It goes well with Caesar salad, or salads containing fruits or nuts. Since it has strong and nutty flavor, it also goes well with salads containing meat. Fresh Asiago cheese may taste good with greens and other vegetables.
Sprinkle the grated Asiago cheese on Parmesan or Alfredo sauce for a strong and delicious flavor. For a creamier consistency, mix fresh Asiago cheese to pastas as it blends well with them. If the Asiago cheese is dry and aged, it is best sprinkled on top. It is also a good substitute for Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Asiago cheese makes a great combination with cream-based soups. For a creamy and cheesy consistency, sprinkle grated cheese on top of the soup and let it melt slightly. It goes best with potato soups, cheese soups, and French onion soup.
Asiago cheese also pairs best with Speck, a pork product that is produced in the same region as Asiago. It is a snacking cheese that is also best combined with salami and fruits. It is also best paired with Italian red wines, wheat beers, and ciders.
Nutritional Values of Asiago Cheese (1 oz.)
Calories : 100
Total Fat : 8 g
Cholesterol : 25 mg
Sodium : 454 mg
Carbohydrates : 1 g
Protein : 7 mg
Sodium : 340 mg
Try experimenting with Asiago cheese in different kinds of recipes, and do let us know what unique, mouth-watering, and cheesy recipes you come up with! Have a ‘cheesy’ time preparing your favorite dishes, and in the meanwhile, don’t forget to watch your waist too!