Cheese of the Week – Provolone

October 4, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Posted in cheese, cooking, Food | Leave a comment
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Provolone

Country of origin Italy

Provolone

Region, town Southern Italy
Source of milk Cattle
Pasteurised Depends on cow variety
Texture Semi-hard
Aging time at least 4 months
Certification Provolone Val Padana:
Provolone is an Italian cheese that originated in Casilli near Vesuvius, where it is still produced in various shapes as in 10 to 15 cm long pear, sausage, or cone shapes. A variant of Provolone is also produced in North America and Japan. The most important Provolone production region is currently Northern Italy.

The term Provolone (meaning large Provola) appeared around the end of the 19th century, when it started to be manufactured in the Southern regions of Italy, and this cheese assumed its current large size. The smaller sized variant is called Provola and comes in plain and smoked (“affumicata”) varieties.

Modern Provolone is a full-fat cow’s milk cheese with a smooth skin, produced mainly in the Po River Valley regions of Lombardia and Veneto. It is produced in different forms: shaped like large salami up to 30 cm in diameter and 90 cm long; in a watermelon shape; in a truncated bottle shape; or also in a large pear shape with the characteristic round knob for hanging. The average weight is 5 kg (11 pounds).

Provolone is a semi-hard cheese with taste varying greatly from Provolone Piccante (piquant), aged for a minimum of four months and with a very sharp taste, to Provolone Dolce (sweet) with a very mild taste. In Provolone Piccante, the distinctive piquant taste is produced with lipase (enzyme) derived from goat. The Dolce version uses calf’s lipase instead.

Both Provolone Val Padana and Provolone del Monaco (from the Naples area of Italy) have received the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) seal from the European Community.

In Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, small discs of locally-produced “Provolone” of 10 to 15 cm in diameter and 1 to 2 cm in height are generally consumed before eating grilled meat. The Provolone is either placed directly on the grill, on small stones, or inside a foil plate and cooked until melted. The provoleta is seasoned with chimichurri, and usually eaten communally.

Baked Ziti

INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package dry ziti pasta, Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Ziti Pasta
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2 (28 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce, Bella Vita Low Carb Pasta Sauce
6 ounces sliced provolone cheese
6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
DIRECTIONS:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. In a large skillet, brown beef over medium heat. Add onions; saute until tender. Drain off fat and add spaghetti sauce; simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4. In a lightly greased 2 quart baking dish, place about half of the pasta; top with a layer of provolone and mozzarella cheese slices. Spread on a layer of half the spaghetti sauce mixture and sour cream.
5. Cover with remaining pasta, cheese and sauce; sprinkle a layer of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese and sauce are bubbly; serve.

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