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Pecorino is the name given to all Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk. It covers a wide variety of cheeses produced around the country, but specifically it refers to four main varieties of Pecorino, all of which enjoy PDO protection. These hard ewes’ milk cheeses from central Italy and the island of Sardinia have established a very good export market outside Italy.

Of these four, Pecorino Romano from Sardinia, Lazio and Tuscan Province of Grosseto is the most widely known outside of Italy. The remaining three mature PDO cheeses are Pecorino Sardo from Sardinia, Pecorino Siciliano from Sicily and Pecorino Toscano from Tuscany.

Pecorinos are traditional, creamery, hard, drum-shaped cheeses. They come in a variety of flavors determined by their age. Aged Pecorinos referred to as ‘stagionato’ are hard and crumbly in texture with buttery and nutty flavors. Young or ‘semi-stagionato’ and ‘fresco’ Pecorinos feature a softer texture with mild, creamy flavors. A good Pecorino will have smooth, hard rind that is pale straw to dark brown in color. The rind will vary in color, depending on the age of the cheese, and may include a protecting coating of lard or oil. Its compact interior is white to pale yellow in color, with irregular, small eyes.

Today, this classic Italian cheese is available in many flavors including Pecorino Pepato spiced with black peppercorns or red chili. Pecorino is a preferred cheese in many pasta cheeses and an obvious choice in Italian regions where the cheese is produced. Also, it served as a good substitute for the expensive Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Other Italian cheeses:

Top photos from Twitter

Nov 18
Try our amazing roman pecorino cheese and black pepper risotto with scampi and lime stew.
Nov 15
How to properly mix spaghetti cacio e pepe @GDeLaurentiis in the hollowed out pecorino cheese wheel. YUM!
Nov 11
Roasted corn pizza w/ zucchini, carpaccio, goat cheese, pecorino, honey, mint, serrano peppers and balsamic.
Nov 03
#tgsm Housemade mixed mushroom ravioli, mascarpone, Parmesan, creamy mushroom sauce, pecorino sardo cheese
Nov 02
Pecorino Timballo ($19), a firm, baked cheese dish presented on a board with pear custard at @popolosydney
Sep 24
At bridge tonight: roasted pepper pecorino tapenade base, pancetta, roasted corn, red onions and goat cheese. #yyj
Sep 23
The Secret Room... Unexpected finds at our #Truffle Hunter's Farm! #Pecorino Cheese aging in the mountains of #Umbria
Sep 21
Cheese plate app Brie, aged balsamic pecorino, & smoked paprika cheddar with the usual sides. #fancy #datenight
Sep 21
Small milk pail, handful of flour a cup of milk to creme consistency, stir in diced fresh pecorino cheese as bechemel
Sep 15
Penne with ragu alla Bolognese topped with pecorino cheese.
Sep 14
Pecorino Toscano with dried rosemary crust. Perfect addition to any cheese board. #FormaggiBottega
Sep 09
Found great cheese today, 4 year old pecorino & 18 month old matured in a volcanic cave !! #italianlakes #honeymoon
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