Pecorino is the great sheep’s milk cheese from central and southern Italy, as well as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Based on how long it has been aged and where it was made, it can have either a delicate or strong flavor. It can be eaten at room temperature as an appetizer or paired with a number of other Italian foods.
Be sure to remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. Pair it with regional red wines from its zone of production. Pair Tuscan pecorino with Sangiovese, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Morellino di Scansano and pair aged Sardinian pecorino with Cannonau. Aged Pecorino can also be paired with chestnut honey, a typically Tuscan product, or strawberry tree honey from the Sardinian coast.
If you want to further enhance its distinctive flavor, pair the cheese with dishes of equally strong flavors and persistent aromas. When flavors are well paired, no single flavor should cover or mask another. Pair delicate flavors with fresh, young pecorino and stronger flavors with aged pecorino.
Pair soft, fresh pecorino with
- a white wine like Vermentino from Tuscany or Gallura
- acacia honey
Pair aged pecorino with
- pear or black berry jam
- Chianti jelly
- fig mostarda
- sunflower, chestnut and strawberry tree honey
In terms of fruit and nuts, try serving pecorino with pears, melon, kiwi, figs (fresh and dried), walnuts and hazel nuts.
Young pecorino can also be served with beers of medium structure, like Lager, while aged pecorino is best with a Trappist.
How to serve it
Grated on pasta sauces like carbonara and duck ragu, risotto, soups like ribollita and acquacotta, or with broiled vegetables like cauliflower and cardoons.
Grated in pasta fillings, savory tarts and savory flans.
How to store it
Pecorino should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated space without major changes in temperature. Slices that have been vacuum-packed can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of months. Slices that have not been vacuum-packed should be loosely wrapped in plastic wrap, so that the rind can breath, and placed in a container in the fridge.