Saturday, April 8, 2006

Parmesan-Asiago Cheese Spread


I’ve gotta tell you right up front, this is a recipe I adapted from Michael Chiarello’s NapaStyle web site. It's called Salsa di Parmigiano and I found it a few years ago. It’s very delicious, very calorie-laden but low-carb (providing you put it on veggies or low-carb pasta), and I make it several times a year. I’ve had great success varying the cheeses with just about any combination of dry, aged cheese I happen to have on hand.

You can buy jars of this from NapaStyle.com, but it’s so easy to make that I do it myself with freshly bought ingredients. And, with all the respect that Mr. Chiarello is due, I add a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt to the recipe which, in my estimation, rounds it out nicely.

So, here’s the list of ingredients with a few of my own added. Dump it all into a food processor and pulse until it’s of a chunky-spreadable consistency. Serve with large, garlic toasted baguette slices, artisan crackers, coarsely sliced red bell peppers so you can scoop it up, or your favorite Triscuits (hey, my kids like Triscuits!).

1 heaping cupful (about 8 oz.) each of Parmesan cheese and Asiago cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks (I've used Pecorino Romano, dry Jack and Cypress Grove's Midnight Moon after it has dried out a bit)
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, such as Tellicherry
2 tablespoons, or more, chopped green onions, using equal amounts of white part and dark green parts
2 -3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, laid flat on top of each other, rolled up lengthwise like a cigar and sliced crosswise into thin strips
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Less than 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of good kosher salt or sea salt
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine - how long will this keep in the refrigerator? irene

Christine said...

Hello Irene,
It never lasts very long around our house, but I think it would keep well for 1 week. You should allow it to come to room temperature for about 1 hour before serving if it's been in the fridge.