contributed by staffer Carol Ullmann:

Stuffed squash
with Valserena Parmigiano Reggiano

Carol says, “I love [this recipe] because as long as I have the squash and the wild rice (required for my happiness), then I can just use whatever protein and veg we have laying around. We grate the parm on top while everything is still hot because that gives flexibility for those who like a lot (my husband) and those who do not like cheese (my son—I know!), and everyone in between.”

See the recipe

Contributed by staffer Allison Schraf:

Apple Celery
Parmigiano Reggiano

Allison shares, “I LOVE this unusual salad made with celery, apples, toasted walnuts, and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home recipe that uses blue cheese called Apple-Celery en Bleu.


  • 1 sweet, crunchy apple (Empire, Mutsu, Honeycrisp)
  • 2 – 3 celery stalks
  • ⅓ cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 servings of salad greens—softer ones like butter lettuce are a nice contrast to the other crunchier ingredients.
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Core the apple and cut it into ½-inch pieces. Thinly slice the celery. Combine the apples and celery in a serving
  2. l. Add the greens to the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the vinegar or lemon juice, oil, and honey.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese shavings on top of the salad.
  6. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Pancetta + Salami Pasta

There are plenty of different ways to enjoy Parmigiano Reggiano®, but the first thing most people think of using Parmigiano Reggiano on pasta. One of the things I love about pasta is that it’s fairly simple to make a great tasting dinner with just a few really tasty ingredients. Also, with the cooler weather this time of year, walking into a nice steamy kitchen where I’ve been boiling pasta feels warm and homey.

See the recipe

3 Ps Sandwich

This is an easy to put together, and truly tasty, picnic lunch. You can make the sandwiches an hour or two in advance so the oil has a chance to soak into the bread. The cheese-pepper spread is also very good on its own as a spread for bruschetta, as a pasta sauce, or added to a vegetable soup. Because it’s such a simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients is imperative. The same recipe made with mediocre cheese, pepper, oil and bread will be boring at best, bad at worst. On the other hand, with top grade raw materials, it’s seriously world class.


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (preferably a mellow oil, maybe from Liguria)
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (nearly 1 cup)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste—try it with the new Zingerman’s 5-Star Black Pepper blend from Épices de Cru
  • 1 cup of fresh arugula leaves (loosely packed)
  • 2 ounces (2 slices) Prosciutto di Parma
  • 1 French baguette from the Bakehouse


  1. Mix the oil, Parmigiano Reggiano and pepper ’til smooth.
  2. Split the baguette lengthwise.
  3. Spread the Parmigiano-pepper mixture onto the bread.
  4. Lay on the prosciutto and arugula, then the top slice of bread.

Eat and enjoy!

Salsa di Noci
Ligurian Walnut Sauce

Salsa di Noci is typically served on stuffed pasta. It’s great on toast too—I think of it as a savory Italian version of a peanut butter sandwich. You can vary the proportions of the nuts to your taste. And you can toast or not toast them. Toasting will deepen the flavor and darken the color. Untoasted, you’ll get a more delicate sauce. Either way it’s excellent. Makes about 2 cups, enough to serve 4 to 6.


  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
  • 5 ounces walnut halves (1¼ cups)
  • 2 ounces hazelnuts (½ cup)
  • 1 ounce pine nuts (2 tablespoons), preferably Mediterranean
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano® (without rind), freshly grated
  • Coarse sea salt to taste

Food processor method:

  • Finely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the nuts and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the blade running, add the olive oil a little at a time to help process the nuts into a moderately smooth paste with the texture of chunky natural peanut butter. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and process to bend. Add salt to taste.

Mortar and pestle method:

  • Slowly work the garlic and a few pinches of salt into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Working slowly, add a few of the nuts, crushing them into a paste each time before adding more. Add a little oil as you’re adding the nuts to moisten the mixture. Add more nuts and oil until the paste has the texture of chunky natural peanut butter. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and blend well. Add salt to taste.

The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, but be sure to bring it back to room temperature before you use it.

Ligurian Pesto

While there are thousands of ways to make pesto, this recipe is—from my experience—the closest you’ll get to the real thing. It’s made with a mortar and pestle, not in a food processor. (You’ll need a mortar with a diameter of at least 8 inches.) This pesto should look more like guacamole than most bottled pesto sauces, which are usually blade-chopped bits of basil suspended in so-so olive oil. The garlic is a key flavor contributor, but it won’t overwhelm everything else.
Makes ½ to ¾ cup, enough to serve 4 to 6


  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • Pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved, center sprout removed if present
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, or more to taste, preferably Mediterranean
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or more to taste
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian


  1. Wash the basil and pat it dry (or if you’re prepared to be authentically Ligurian, wipe each leaf with a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel). Be sure the basil is dry so that you don’t add unwanted water to the sauce.
  2. If the leaves are large, tear them into smaller pieces—don’t slice them with a knife, which will cause the leaves to blacken.
  3. Start by putting a pinch of sea salt and a few basil leaves in the mortar. With a pestle, slowly crush the basil gently but firmly against the sides of the mortar. The leaves should gradually disintegrate as you move the pestle around in a circular motion.
  4. Continue this process, adding a few basil leaves at a time, until you’ve used them all. Add the garlic and mash it into the basil mixture. Add the pine nuts and mash them into a paste.
  5. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano and stir to combine. Add the olive oil slowly, stirring to make an almost opaque sauce with a creamy consistency.
  6. The sauce can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Be sure to bring it back to room temperature and give it a good stir before using.

Parmigiano Reggiano
with Honey and Walnuts

If you’re at all like me in preferring cheese to sweets, here’s something to serve after dinner that combines the cheese course and dessert into a single delicious interlude. You can vary the honey if you like, but the cheese should be the best Parmigiano Reggiano you can put your hands on.


  • 3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon chestnut honey or other full-flavored honey
  • 2 tablespoons walnut halves, toasted


  1. Break the Parmigiano Reggiano into bite-sized pieces. Don’t cut it into cubes with a knife. Part of the enjoyment of eating it this way is the rough texture and the odd shapes and sizes you’ll get by breaking it with a Parmesan knife.
  2. Arrange the cheese pieces on a serving dish. Drizzle the honey over the top, sprinkle on the walnut halves, and serve.

Champagne and
Parmigiano Reggiano

This whole dish can be made in under half an hour and you can probably play with your kids or do half your email while you’re stirring! The result really is a great dinner! Because the two featured ingredients here—Parmigiano Reggiano and sparkling wine—are already so special, it’s a great way to impress company, or convey the import of any event. That said, you can just put it together for two on a Tuesday evening too!


  • 4 cups chicken broth (you may not end up using it all)
  • 2½ cups flat champagne or sparkling wine.
  • Rind pieces from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup Italian rice, preferably Carnaroli
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano broken into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley—rinsed and squeezed dry
  • Additional butter to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving


  1. Combine the chicken broth with 2 cups of the sparkling wine. If working with an unsalted broth, add sea salt to taste. If you have some Parmigiano Reggiano rind on hand, put a piece into the liquid. Bring broth and champagne mixture to a boil, reduce heat only slightly and simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat slightly again.
  2. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in the butter ‘til soft and golden (don’t brown or the onion will become bitter).
  3. Add the rice, stir well. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the rice is very hot and shiny. Add the ½cup of champagne. Stir ‘til it’s been absorbed by the rice. Add ½cup of the broth-champagne mixture. Stir until absorbed. Repeat the process over and over again until the rice is tender but still firm.
  4. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes from when it first went into the pan. Add a touch more butter and one last ½cup of the broth-champagne mixture. (If you’ve used up all the broth you can use water at this stage.) Stir, yet again, then remove from the heat.
  5. Add the parsley and Parmigiano pieces and mix well. The cheese should still be in chunks—don’t let it melt into the dish. Let stand for sixty seconds. Add salt to taste.
  6. Serve in warm bowls. Top with the additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a generous dose of black pepper atop each bowl. Serves two generous main courses or four appetizers.

Molly’s Mushroom, Parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano Salad

An easy and excellent salad for the season!

As you may have read recently, I’ve been friends with Molly Stevens for over 30 years now. We’ve traveled, cooked, and eaten together in dozens of places around the world. If you don’t yet know her award-winning cookbooks, check them out! Her newest, All About Dinner, is fantastic. If you missed Molly’s class at BAKE!®, and the special dinner she did at the Roadhouse, there’s still time to buy the book. A great gift for anyone you know who likes to eat, it’s all about what Molly makes for dinner at home and is filled with insights and observations about getting comfortable in the kitchen! (If you have a friend or relative who wants to learn to cook, but believes they’re not good at it, Molly’s new offering might be the perfect book to talk them through the learning process.)

Shifting from friendship to formaggio, the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese we have at the Deli is so good right now. Looking for interesting ways to put it to use, I started looking through the work of some of my favorite writers. In the process, I stumbled on this great little salad recipe in All About Dinner. It’s terrific. And easy! No joke, I put it together in under ten minutes.

The salad starts with fresh mushrooms. You’ll want a fair few since they shrink down some as they marinate in the dressing. I probably used about a pound for two of us, a mix of straight white button mushrooms along with some lovely little oyster mushrooms I got from Tantre Farms at the Farmer’s Market. Wipe the mushrooms of any dirt and slice them fairly thin. I took Molly up on her suggestion to add some fresh, thinly sliced fennel too. Mince a shallot or two and add to the mix. Squeeze on the juice of a whole fresh lemon (you can adjust to taste). Sprinkle some sea salt and a good bit of black pepper—raw mushrooms generally need to be well-seasoned, so don’t skimp. Then add a lot of chopped fresh parsley—the parsley is a key ingredient here, not just a garnish. Add some good olive oil. Toss and let it stand for a bit.

As Molly says in the book, you can serve the salad shortly after mixing, or you can wait a few hours. I did the latter to let the flavors come together. (Leftovers were just as tasty the next evening as well.) When you’re ready to serve, put the salad out on plates, and then get a nice chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano—I’m really liking both the three-year-old Roncadella cheese, or the 44-month-old offering from Valserena. Grab your potato peeler and shave off a goodly number of cheese “curls” on top of each plate of salad. It’s a wonderful way to use this classic cheese that has nothing to do with pasta or grating—the buttery musicality of the Parmigiano Reggiano makes a perfect foil to the earthy mellowness of the mushrooms.

Building on Molly’s good work, I also tried some slight variations that aren’t in the book. The salad is fantastic, it turns out, with the addition of a couple of anchovies. It’s also great with some toasted walnuts on top! I also tried it on a bed of fresh spinach, and that worked well too. The green of the spinach and its natural “herbiness” was a lovely contrast to the mushrooms.

For what it’s worth, I was a bit anxious to tell Molly that I’d messed with a carefully tested recipe, but her response cleared my mind. “That’s the whole point of the book,” she said. “To help get people comfortable in the kitchen, so they do their own experimenting, enjoy what they’re eating, and start cooking more!” I’m in full agreement! Whether you cook every day like I do, or worried you couldn’t cook your way out of a paper bag, if you like mushrooms, this salad is surely for you!