I’m Emilio Barbieri, chef and owner of Strada Facendo restaurant. It’s where my passion for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese began.
Here’s a photo. It’s a bit old – 1955! It shows my dad, mum, grandfather, siblings at our family’s dairy in Salvaterra, just by the Secchia River.
From a family of cheese makers you wouldn’t expect anything less than a great passion for Reggiano parmesan. The smells and the flavours that I have had etched into my memory, and in my DNA ever since I was born are replicated in the way I cook. Reggiano parmesan, traditional balsamic vinegar, Lambrusco – all those elements that represent my local territory are also reflected in me as a person. Now let’s go to the kitchen and see some of the recipes that use Reggiano parmesan.
This recipe is a little bit complex. It pays homage to Reggiano parmesan. It includes a pie made from parmesan with a little quail egg inside. A celery cream, a celery confit, parmesan chips and tosone cheese.
Here we have a salad, which shows how parmesan can be used to make a really quick meal at home. You can use walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, shaved parmesan, raisins, pine nuts, a dash of traditional balsamic vinegar, and you’ll have a nutritious and refreshing salad. Really, really good. Ingredients like Reggiano parmesan and traditional balsamic vinegar speak for themselves!
We’ll also show you a risotto made using Reggiano parmesan aged 30 months. We make it only using Reggiano parmesan, and it’s fantastic.
Lastly, we’ll show you tortellini – it’s a must in Modena! It’s served on a cream of Reggiano parmesan.
I’d say we’ve covered all of the key recipes of Modena, using Reggiano parmesan in all its glory.
Now we’ll make the pie. We prepared some besciamella. Now we’ll add the egg yolk. And we’ll go and make our pie. Firstly we need to flour our mould, and then we add the mixture. It’s made from Reggiano parmesan, egg and a tiny bit of flour. We put a quail egg yolk in the middle of the pie. Now we’ll put it in the oven for a few minutes at 210 degrees. Whilst it’s baking, we’ll get the other parts of the dish ready. The parmesan chips – it’s parmesan rind, and the tosone cheese, which we grate and shape into little balls.
In the meantime, we’ll go and put together the risotto. We soften some onions, toast the rice and add a little bit of white wine.
Now let’s get the salad ready. We’re using Reggiano parmesan aged 28-30 months. I always have it cut into eight wedges. That way it stays fresher, and when it’s sliced it releases a smell that I remember from when I was a child and my parents would cut open the parmesan wheels at the dairy. It feels ancestral to me.
We’re cutting some parmesan slivers. Let’s make our salad. It’s really simple, a dish you could easily make in summer even when you don’t have a lot of time. You just need to have a few ingredients at hand – some raisins, pine nuts, almonds – or even better, walnuts – hazelnuts, ground pistachio if you have it, and slivers of Reggiano parmesan. I use three types of oil. Taggiasco, one from Garda, and a Valentini from Umbria. I always recommend using light oils with our traditional balsamic vinegar on Reggiano parmesan. Oils from Garda or Liguria are good as they are very light. An oil from Brisighella could also work, but I prefer the ones from Garda as they’re very good and go splendidly with our traditional balsamic vinegar.
A little bit of salt and a good traditional balsamic vinegar, aged 25 years. I can guarantee that this is an exceptional salad!
Now we’re going to make the curd for our pie. What’s the curd? It’s the milk taken a moment before it would become Reggiano parmesan. After that, the curd is then broken up and heated to 56-58 degrees. Little pieces form and sink to the bottom of the pan, and the fresh Reggiano parmesan forms.
We use calf rennet. No more than 2 grams. We add a drop of water to dissolve the rennet. We heat fresh milk to 32 degrees. The rennet will react to the milk. 31… 32 degrees. Here we go. At 32 degrees, we add the dissolved rennet to the milk. Then we let it rest.
If you look closely you can see that the milk is already starting to curdle.
Now let’s make our pie. We’re going to use a cream of celery. Actually, we’ve prepared the celery in three different ways. We have the cream of celery, crunchy celery and a celery confit. We’ll finish the dish with parmesan chips – it’s pure and simple parmesan rind that we fry – and the tosone cheese, which we shape into balls.
Firstly, we plate the celery sauce. In the meantime, our pie has baked and it’s ready. We add some crunchy celery – one the three textures of celery in this dish, a flavour that always goes well with parmesan, and cheese in general. Celery confit. Here’s our baked parmesan pie, which has a quail egg inside. We have fried the tosone cheese and parmesan chips. We finish the dish off with parmesan chips. They have puffed out like chips made from potato, but it’s actually parmesan rind, which used to be often used either in minestrone soups or added to pasta dishes. These are balls of tosone cheese. So now we’ve used Reggiano parmesan 180 degrees, starting with the curd. We’ll add some curd to the dish. We combine the parmesan with black truffle. I would say that celery, truffle and parmesan is one of the best combinations possible. Here we go.
We’ll finish off our risotto with some butter, Reggiano parmesan. And we cream our risotto.
Here’s our risotto. We’ve made a container for it out of parmesan. We spread out grated parmesan and baked it in the oven before shaping the container and adding a strip of leek. Now the risotto is ready to be plated. Here we have some parmesan rind shavings which we will fry before adding to the dish. Here’s our creamed parmesan risotto. Let’s plate it. These are the shaved parmesan rind chips. Before and after frying. Here we go. Our creamed parmesan risotto.
For the tortellini, again we’ve made a Reggiano parmesan cream. We added a little bit of nutmeg to the cream. There’s also some in the tortellini. We toss the tortellini in a little butter, just enough to melt with the parmesan. Once it’s nice and creamy, it’s ready. I can assure you that this is a truly exceptional dish. It’s a real treat to serve.
When children or families order tortellini with cream, and I serve it to them with Reggiano parmesan cream – the children don’t want to eat tortellini with cream anymore!
We made a salad with some pine nuts, raisins, almonds, pistachios, Reggiano parmesan shavings and a little traditional balsamic vinegar, a light olive oil – because it mustn’t overwhelm or contrast too sharply with the traditional balsamic vinegar or the Reggiano parmesan. All of the flavours must be able to come through.
Then we have our homage to Reggiano parmesan – one of the reasons we named it as such is because the black truffle complements the parmesan so well. We have a parmesan pie with a quail egg yolk inside, a celery sauce, celery confit, and crunchy celery. It’s complemented by black truffle, tosone cheese balls, and parmesan chips – which are fried pieces of parmesan rind. This dish encompasses everything from the start to the finish of the parmesan process – from the milk to the rind.
Here we have the dish that I would call the king of the table – tortellini. Ours is Reggiano parmesan tortellini. I would say that good tortellini with matured parmesan is one of the dishes that best represents our local area.
And finally, we have our risotto. It’s served in a parmesan crisp container, and garnished with fried parmesan shavings made from finely sliced parmesan rind. This dish also represents our local area and tradition of parmesan.