Recipe: Parmigiano Reggiano Tear & Share Flatbread
It’s odd the things you get into during lockdown: jigsaws, gaming, attempting to make sourdough. But for BALANCE it has been something we weren’t expecting: cheese. Lots of cheese. We’ve consumed more cheese since March than we have the previous decade – but the issue is, we still don’t know much about cheese. Enter – Parmigiano Reggiano.
A hero cheese that ticks multiple boxes, Parmigiano Reggiano, the pride of northern Italy.
This beloved all-rounder can do the lot: delicious with crackers, a treat on its own, we’ve melted it on toast, it pairs with other foods (even dessert) and will sit pride of place on any cheeseboard. “Parmesan” might be an easy way of saying “Parmigiano Reggiano”, yet this is so much more than a cheese to be grated on top of a Bolognese (in fact, to limit Parmigiano Reggiano would be a crime against food).
As well as being one of the oldest and richest cheeses in the world, Parmigiano Reggiano is a good option to use in an array of recipes, as it is 100% natural (made with only milk, salt, and rennet), naturally lactose-free, and a source of calcium and phosphorous (1155 mg/100g and 691 mg/100g, respectively). The Parmigiano Reggiano rind is also commonly used in cooking, such as to flavour soups and broths – a good way to reduce food waste.
Parmigiano Reggiano is the only type of hard cheese that can legally be called Parmesan in the EU and other countries where the law applies. Fabrizio Raimondi, PR Director of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium explains, “there are many cheeses in the market that may be inspired by Parmigiano Reggiano, but they are not the same, as Parmigiano Reggiano is unique and inimitable”.
“Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which means it is a product that, based on its distinctive characteristics and its tie to the area of origin, is safeguarded by a system provided by the EU to protect consumers and producers alike.
“To receive the certification ‘Parmigiano Reggiano PDO’, the cheese must be produced in the area of origin, specifically the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua to the right of the Po river, and Bologna to the left of the Reno River.
“Regular controls are carried out on the milk used in the process to ensure the high quality and the presence of special characteristics, which allow Parmigiano Reggiano to be complete without additives or preservatives.”
“It is also naturally Lactose-free.”
Consortium president Nicola Bertinelli sums it up: “Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese that stands out for the selection of the best ingredients, for being 100% natural, and for having used the same recipe for a thousand years.”
So put that grater down, and have a go at this delicious recipe.
Parmigiano Reggiano, Garlic and Parsley Tear & Share Flatbread
Ahh – the aroma! Bursting with flavour, this sensory treat will feed eight hungry cheese-lovers, and is an ideal snack for afternoons spent in the sun.
– 500g White bread flour, plus extra for sprinkling
– 1 tsp. Salt
– 1 tbsp. Caster sugar
– 1 rounded tsp. easy-blend yeast
– 1 tbsp. Olive oil, plus extra for greasing
– 300ml Warm water
– 40g Butter, softened
– 2-3 Garlic cloves, crushed
– 2 tbsp. Fresh parsley, chopped
– 80g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
– Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and extra parley, for sprinkling
– Serve with: Parmigiano Reggiano chunks, thyme sprigs, olives, roasted peppers etc.
- Tip the flour into a large bowl and stir in the salt, sugar and yeast. Pour in the olive oil and water and mix with your hand, then bring the dough together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Stand in a warm place and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a surface sprinkled with a little flour and knead it lightly for 1 minute. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll out into circles measuring approximately 30x30cm. Lift onto 2 large lightly oiled baking sheets. Leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes to rise.
- Mix together the butter, crushed garlic, chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Spread over the flatbreads.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Bake the flatbreads for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm, topped with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and extra parsley, accompanied by Parmigiano Reggiano chunks, thyme sprigs, olives, roasted peppers, etc.
Cook’s tip: Cool and freeze one of the flatbreads to serve another day.