One of the world's great cheese-producing nations, Italy makes hundreds of varieties, ranging from mild, sweet bocconcini to sharp, pungent Pecorino Romano. Pecorino Romano is an aged, dry sheep's milk cheese, grated sparingly into pasta and other dishes as a potent flavor enhancer. If you don't have Romano on hand, other dry grating cheeses are usable -- if inexact -- substitutes.
The Grate Taste Comparison
The major varieties of hard grating cheese share a broadly similar texture, brittle and very dense. Their flavors, on the other hand, vary widely depending on the milk used and the cheesemaker's preferences. Pecorino Romano is the sharpest of the common varieties, very pungent and salty. Good-quality Parmesan, or its close cousin Grana Padano, is nearly as salty but milder and nuttier in flavor. Italian or domestic Asiago, American Dry Jack and aged Spanish manchego have less salt, and sweeter, nuttier flavors.
Of the readily available alternatives, a well-aged Parmesan -- not the kind from a shaker, but a block of the good stuff -- is the closest substitute. It's got a subtler, more complex flavor, and you'll need to use slightly more to replace the saltiness of the Romano. Dry Jack, manchego and Asiago aren't as assertive, so you'll need to use more than the recipe calls for. Their flavor is equally enjoyable on pizza or cream sauces, though they won't stand up to a tomato sauce as notably as Romano. Where it's practical, adding a small quantity of pungent goat's cheese to your dish can help simulate Romano's sharp edge.
- Photo Credit marmo81/iStock/Getty Images
Substitutes for Pesto Sauce
Pesto makes a healthy and tasty addition to meals, serving as everything from a dip for vegetable nibbles to a condiment for...
The Differences Between Romano & Parmesan Cheese
It is hard to distinguish between Romano and Parmesan cheeses until you try them, though even then it can be tricky as...
Aged Mizithra Cheese Substitutes
Mizithra is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk. Some cooks who have used mizithra appreciate its taste and texture so much...
Substitutes for Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the world's greatest cheeses, renowned for the power and complexity of its flavor. It is the best known...
What Is Ricotta Salata?
Ricotta salata is an Italian cheese made from sheep's milk. It is known for its unusual taste, flavor and texture. The curds...
List of Italian Cheeses
According to Steven Jenkins, the first American to be welcomed into the exclusive French gastronomic society, Chevalier du Taste-Fromage, the cheeses of...
Uses for Asiago Cheese
You can find Asiago cheese in most groceries, but how to use it may remain a mystery. It's of Italian origin, so...
Substitutes for Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano Cheese is a firm cheese that is usually served grated over meals. It is made with partially skimmed milk in...
Substitutes for Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese is a hard Dutch cheese wrapped in wax and its sweet and fruity flavor intensifies with age. Some cheese makers...