Today's tip

There is a natural affinity between pasta and cheese, but it’s not as indiscriminate as one might think.

In Italy, cheese is used with pasta very selectively and judiciously, with careful attention paid to timing. It is always added when the pasta is ready to be plated, with additional grated cheese at the table. Cheese is never served with seafood pasta, except in Sicily. When preparing pasta with game or pasta with hot pepper, cheese is optional, since the flavors are already very intense.

When does one use Grana Padano and pecorino cheese? Grated Grana Padano, made from cow’s milk, is milkier and milder and it goes well with milder sauces from the north of Italy. Grated pecorino, a sheep’s milk cheese, is more intense in flavor and can sometimes be a bit salty. It is predominantly made and used in southern Italy, to accompany sauces with more pronounced flavor.

I answer questions on grated cheese here: