Asiago cheese gives a mild but nutty flavor to pasta dishes, breads and salads. Buy it aged with a hard, grateable consistency -- called Asiago d'allevo -- or fresh -- called Asiago Pressato -- which features a softer, more meltable texture. The cheese is made from the milk of cows and originates from the Veneto foothills in Italy.
Uses for Hard Asiago
Hard Asiago usually comes with a straw-colored rind that is unsuitable for eating. Use it grated, cubed and sliced. It's the type you'll find most often in supermarkets.
- Grate Asiago into a bowl of soup, such as minestrone, or add the rind as the soup cooks and discard before serving.
- Add grated Asiago to bread dough for a savory treat -- make into bagels, rolls or ciabatta.
- Add grated or thinly sliced Asiago to salad -- it complements those made with bitter greens and fruit well.
- Sprinkle grated Asiago over spaghetti marinara and just about any other pasta dish.
- Top roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, tomatoes or summer squash with grated Asiago.
- Use as a pizza cheese: Add a small amount to traditional mozzarella or top non-traditional pizzas made with roasted red peppers and chicken or artichokes and black olives.
- Add grated Asiago to potato gratin or roasted butternut squash.
- Top roasted chicken breast with grated Asiago and brown under the broiler.
- Include on a cheese plate with fresh fruit and crackers.
Cooking With Fresh
Fresh Asiago is made with whole milk and aged for just a month. Use it to add a creamy texture to dishes.
Imagination and Substitutions
Use your imagination and culinary creativity with Asiago. The mild flavor complements most dishes that use cheese, especially Italian ones. If a recipe calls for hard Asiago and you don't have any on hand, substitute with any firm Italian grating cheese -- including Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano. The flavor will be slightly different, but equally good. Soft Asiago is harder to find, so use Jack cheese or Muenster if you don't have any.
If a recipe doesn't specify which kind of Asiago to use, assume it means the aged, dry type, which is what's most often available.