Parmigiano Reggiano Cooking Class

Yes, a cooking class where the “star” ingredient was Parmigiano Reggiano.  When I received an email from Zingerman’s Bakehouse about this upcoming class I signed up right away. There are only 12 students per class so you have to respond quickly to get a spot.

Parmigiano Reggiano is my favorite cheese above all others and there is always a big supply in my refrigerator. I use this cheese a lot – it can be a main ingredient in one of my recipes or just shavings on top of a salad. No, this is not the Parmesan that you shake out of a container!

One of the Zingerman partners returned recently from a trip to Italy visiting and tasting some Parmigiano Reggiano from different dairies. As a result of this trip they are now offering 5 different cheeses. Ari has written a lengthy description about each dairy as well as included remarks from a formal taster for the regular assessment of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

There are a total of 339 dairies in this one area of Northern Italy comprising Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua.  Only here are the conditions ideal to produce the only cheese in the world that can be called Parmigiano Reggiano.

Every cheese dairy is thoroughly inspected and every single cheese is checked by the Consorzio experts before it can be given the Parmigiano  Reggiano “firebrand” and have its side panels show off the famous “pin dots”. There are many cheeses that try to lay claim to be as good such as Grana Padano but Parmigiano Reggiano remains at the top.

All I can say is don’t buy the “imitation” cheese, buy the real Parmigiano Reggiano.  Maybe I will join the new Parmigiano Club so I can taste all these different Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses!

Now, back to the class! Our guest instructor was Evan Kleiman from Los Angeles who specializes in Italian cooking. She’s an author; “Cucina Fresca” is one of her cookbooks which was available for purchase. Evan is also a radio show host, former owner of an Italian caffe/pizzeria and in 2017 was named as a James Beard Who’s Who in Food in America member.

This is a list of what we made during a three hour class:

  • Gnocchetti di Ricotta (beet ricotta gnocchi with brown butter, sage, and Parmigiano Reggiano)

  • Cipolle alla Parmigiana (onions baked in salt, then scooped out and pureed with Parmigiano Reggiano and finished in the oven)

  • Insalata Forte made with mixed baby greens, fennel bulb, Belgian endive and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish dressed with a Garlic Parmesan Salad Dressing

Evan also demonstrated the following dishes which we got to sample:

  • Brodo di Reggiano (Parmesan Broth)
  • Spinach Leek Straciatella Soup with Parmigiano Reggiano broth
  • Ricotta “Carpaccio” with thinly sliced radishes, zucchini, carrots and shallots, drizzled with olive oil and crowned with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

I will make and post a few favorites later…

Linking to Fiesta Friday #191. Our co-hosts this week are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Antonia @ Zoale.com.

31 thoughts on “Parmigiano Reggiano Cooking Class

  1. Wow that looks like it was so much fun! Parmigiano Reggiano is the only cheese that I use with Italian dishes and I shred all of my own cheese for everything. It’s so much better. I hope you join the club so you can experience all of the differences! You sure have access to some great classes!

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  2. Sounds like an amazing class Judi! I love Parmigiano Reggiano, and would have loved to be there. Interesting about there being so many dairies! Glad to be co-hosting FF with you 😀

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    • Referring to one of the handouts we were given, back in 1986 there were 976. The move is towards exceptional quality and there are only two places I buy from; Whole Foods and Zingerman’s. I am willing to pay top price for a quality product. It was a fun class and I wish I would have gone with someone. Happy FF and Happy Weekend 🙂

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  3. I just never think to sign up for classes although we have some wonderful ones available all over MPLS – and it’s so much fun to go and cook with other people. I think the last one I did was a truffle class around 2002!! What an inspiration and those onions, in particular, are calling my name!

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  4. It is strange that I can’t visit you thru Safari. Anyway, this sounds fun! I love parmigiano reggianno cheese as well, but a bit pricey for me. Thanks for co-hosting this week’s FF and have a lovely weekend!😘

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  5. What a fabulous class you got to attend Judi! Loved reading about the class and drooling over the photos :). The onions baked in salt is such a unique recipe for me. I am a big fan of the Parmigiano Reggiano as well- nothing like it!

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    • Zingerman’s classes are always top notch. I seem to recall you posted a recipe for your broth and I recommended it for a feature on FF and it was. I’ll have to double check on that. I usually throw the rinds in soups or such and have not saved them to make broth. It is more flavorful than chicken for sure 🙂

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