Italy is a country with a rich cheese-making heritage. Each individual cheese plays an integral part in the landscape and is deeply woven into the specialities of each region. There are so many recipes associated with the Italian cheeses that we stock, it is always hard to select just a few – they all sound incredible.
Below we have focused on some simple recipes with that we think you will love! They are made with cheeses that feature in our ever-popular cheese hampers. These recipes are easy to prepare and yet taste amazing and create a big impression!
1. No-Potato Gnocchi with Fontina Cheese
The one hundred litres of milk in one Fontina make this one of the creamiest Italian cheeses. It melts perfectly to make a delicious sauce to accompany these gnocchi which are a lighter version of the traditional potato ones.
Ingredients for 4 people
For the gnocchi*:
250g buckwheat flour
250g 00 (plain) flour
Pinch of salt
*If you prefer to use normal potato gnocchi, those are fine too!
For the cheesy sauce:
200g whole milk
Step 1. Sieve the plain flour in a bowl then the buckwheat flour in the same bowl. Add warm water to the sifted flours and mix them with a fork. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Keep stirring until the ingredients are blended and then knead the dough firmly with your hands until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous, with a soft texture but compact.
Step 2. Give your dough the shape of the ball then cover it with cling film and let it stand for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
Step 3. Proceed with the preparation of the Fontina sauce by placing the cheese on a cutting board and cutting off the outer crust. Cut the cheese into strips and then into cubes of about 1cm.
Step 4. Take a pan and pour in the milk. Heat and add the cheese. Melt the cheese over low heat, stirring well with a wooden spoon or spatula. The cheese should melt completely and blend well into a milky cream without producing lumps. Add pepper to taste. When the cheese is melted and totally free of lumps turn off the heat.
Step 5. Take your dough and knead it on a surface where you will have spread some flour first. Break off a piece of dough and form a 1cm thick snake that you will then cut into small pieces all the same size. Give each small piece a classic gnocchi shape by rolling on a gnocchi basket if you have one or with a fork. Repeat this for each one.
Step 6. Fill a large pan with water, add salt and bring to a boil. When the water boils pour in the gnocchi. When they bob to the surface, after about 3 or 4 minutes, they will be ready. Drain the water and place them in a bowl.
Step 7. Add the Fontina sauce to the Gnocchi and mix well. Serve hot.
2. Spaghetti with Gorgonzola Piccante
If you love spicy Italian cheeses then this dish is for you! Gorgonzola piccante is creamier than Stilton but just as strong and works perfectly with spaghetti in this easy recipe.
Ingredients for 4 people
100g Gorgonzola Piccante
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons Parmesan
Salt to taste
Pepper as needed
Step 1. Cook the spaghetti in salted water. (Retain a little of the pasta water before draining in case you need to add it to your sauce)
Step 2. Meanwhile, remove the rind from the Gorgonzola and cut the cheese into small pieces.
Step 3. Chop the pistachios.
Step 4. Put the Gorgonzola in a saucepan and add the cream, cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then stir in the Parmesan.
Step 5. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl, pour in the creamy Gorgonzola sauce and stir again to coat the spaghetti, if the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta cooking water.
Step 6. Serve hot with a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper.
3. Courgette and Toma Piemontese Risotto
Toma is a buttery but salty mountain cheese from Piemonte which brings the components of this risotto together really well creating a simple but delicious dish.
Ingredients for 4 people
350g Carnaroli rice
1 litre of vegetable stock
200g of Toma cheese
Half a cup of white wine
1 chopped onion
3 courgettes (cut into strips eliminating the seedy white part)
Step 1. Fry the onion in the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Step 2. Add the courgettes and stir-fry gently.
Step 3. Add the rice, toast for a minute or two and then pour in the wine.
Step 4. After the wine has evaporated, pour in the stock one ladle at a time and after each ladle, cook the rice until it has absorbed all the stock.
Step 5. Towards the end of cooking, add salt, ground pepper and sprinkle with thyme and parsley.
Step 6. Remove the pan from the hob and add the chopped Toma cheese and the butter. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
4. Bell Peppers and Taleggio Cheese Quiche
Fruity and creamy with a soft texture, Taleggio works really well in a quiche. It’s milky flavour compliments the peppers without over-powering them.
For the pastry crust
125g butter (cut into small cubes)
Or – ready-made short crust pastry of course!
For the Filling
300g of peppers
150g of Taleggio D.O.P.
200ml double cream
1 bunch of fresh thyme
For the pastry
Step 1. Sieve the flour into a large bowl, place it on a surface in a mound , make a well and put the butter in the centre. Mix the flour with the butter by rubbing it with your fingertips until you get large crumbs.
Step 2. Shape into a mound again and pour in 5 or 6 tablespoons of cold water and knead quickly. Form a ball with the dough, wrap it with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
For the filling
Step 1. Roast or grill the peppers until the skin wrinkles. Let them cool covered with a plastic wrap, then peel them and cut into strips, removing core and seeds.
Step 2. In a bowl beat the egg with a pinch of salt, pepper and cream. Add the peppers, thyme and chopped Taleggio cheese.
Step 3. Butter and flour a quiche/cake tin, roll out the dough with a rolling pin making it a half a centimetre thick and line it in the tin.
Step 4. Pour in the mixture of peppers, then bake in a preheated oven at 200 for about 30 minutes, until the dough is golden and the filling has solidified.
5. Parmesan Flavoured Popcorn
Take your popcorn to the next level with a good dusting of the King of Italian cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano!
1 packet of popcorn kernals
50g of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Step 1. Prepare the popcorn according to the directions on the package.
Step 2. While still hot, pour in the Parmigiano Reggiano and shake well so that it is evenly distributed.
If you wish, you can add some powdered pepper or paprika too.
You’ll find these cheeses and more in our range of hampers and gift boxes! They make great presents and are also the perfect way of sampling a selection of cheeses! All of our hampers include FREE UK mainland next day courier delivery.