Chef Theo Randall is renowned for his creative Italian cuisine – award-winning rustic Italian food – which is show cased at his restaurant in one of London’s leading hotels. This week he demonstrated how to use the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, from Emilia Romagna in the the private dining room of his restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane.
It takes an amazing 16 litres of natural skimmed milk, without any additives, to make one kilo of the cheese….and 500 litres to make a wheel. The cows are fed on local grass and natural feed, with the milk going straight to the cheese house within two hours of each milking.
In our picture below you see Theo finishing a Risotto con i Peperoni (Risotto with Bell Peppers)
In creating those mouth-watering Italian flavours he selects the highest quality ingredients – and if he can’t get them in the UK he sources them directly from Italy. For example the eggs he uses come from Italy where the hens are fed on corn. This not only imparts a superior flavour but also gives the yolks a vibrant yellow colour whichcomes through in his home made pasta and tortes. He also uses Guinea Fowl stock rather than chicken.
The flavour of Parmigiano Reggiano develops through the ageing process: a little like wine it is mild when young and develops a stronger taste with a granulated texture as it ages. There are no additives in this cheese apart from the natural enzyme rennet which is added to curdle the milk.
It’s also good news to hear that this cheese is loaded with nutrition – it’s rich in calcium, phosphorous, trace elements and vitamins, as well as protein. And a little goes a long way if you are on a diet! And you can even use the rind – apparently it melts into a soup like minestrone.