Cheese, Please

How to choose the right cheese for your pasta according to Formaggio's cheese buyer


Do you always get stuck at the cheese store trying to slice and dice your way through the pros and cons of Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino Romano? Or are you a staunch advocate of one variety, huddled in your own cheese corner unwilling to try the other on your handmade pasta? We understand. That’s why we tapped David Robinson, the cheese buyer at Formaggio for seven years, for some deets on picking the right cheese for your pasta. For the record, he’s not picking sides: “That’s like choosing your favorite child.”



Flavor Profile: The cow’s milk cheese has a salty hazelnut flavor with hints of dried fruits.

Signs of Quality: “I look for texture: Is it creamier or does it crumble too easily? Is the salt balanced and what will it taste like when we crack that second wheel open in a few weeks?”

Ideal Pasta Pairing: Northern Italian dishes

Ideal Sauce Pairing: Butter sauces, pesto and Bolognese

Pecorino Romano

Flavor Profile: The sheep’s milk cheese is richer and saltier, and the taste is a touch animally.

Signs of Quality: “It’s similar [to Parmigiano-Reggiano], but I also look at color. The more off-white it is, the older it is and the quicker it needs to be moved. It also gets stronger than I want at that point.”

Ideal Pasta Pairing: Southern Italian dishes

Ideal Sauce Pairing: Cacio e pepe, Amatriciana and carbonara

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