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Italy's Grate-est Cheese

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Garganelli With Zucchini and Grana Padano
Grana Padano and Mascarpone Cheese Mousse Prosciutto Roll
Crêpes With Swiss Chard, Grana Padano, Fresh Tomato and Basil

(Family Features) - Home cooks are now discovering a thousand-year-old "secret" ingredient - the wonderful flavor and versatility of Grana Padano, a well-loved cheese from Italy. Grana Padano is a 100 percent cow's milk cheese. Its sweet, delicate flavor is delicious on its own or paired with other foods.

Like the best Italian chefs, you can use Grana Padano in many different ways: as a flavorful accompaniment to wine or fruit; crumbled in pieces alongside a stew; shaved over salads; grated over soup, pasta or risotto; or simply, on its own. Now, that's Italian!

For more information visit www.GranaPadano.com.

A Thousand Years in Every Bite

A thousand years ago in the fertile Po Valley in northern Italy, Cistercian monks unlocked the secret to Grana Padano. In order to preserve milk surpluses, the monks devised a dynamic preservation process that produced this hard cheese. The process used to make Grana Padano - which involved heating milk in large copper vats and then pressing it into round wooden molds - is the same process used today, a testament to how authentic Grana Padano has withstood the test of time.

What Does P.D.O. Mean?

Grana Padano is a Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) cheese. This classification by the European Union ensures that products are genuinely originated from a certain region and follow a high standard of production. The Consorzio Tutela Grana Padano, a consortium of producers, maturers and retailers, supervises the production of Grana Padano, protecting the quality of ingredients and the authentic production method of its members. Grana Padano is the best selling P.D.O. cheese in the world.

The Goodness of Grana Padano

Made with naturally semi-skimmed milk, Grana Padano is an excellent source of protein and key minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc, and vitamins such as A, B and E. Just 25g of Grana Padano provides an adult with more than 30 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium, critical for strong bones and teeth. Surprisingly low in fat and sodium, this nutritious, easily digestible cheese can be an important part of a healthy diet for active, sports-minded people, pregnant women, children and people of all ages.

Garganelli With Zucchini and Grana Padano

  • 16 ounces garganelli pasta
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound diced zucchini
  • 1 1- to 3-ounce slice Prosciutto di San Daniele
  • Pinch sweet paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated Grana Padano cheese
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    1. Boil garganelli in salted water according to package directions.
    2. Sauté garlic and onion with olive oil in large skillet.
    3. Add zucchini, prosciutto, paprika, salt and vegetable broth. Cook gently on medium heat.
    4. Drain pasta when al dente. Add to zucchini mixture. Sauté on high heat and blend well.
    5. Garnish pasta with sprinkling of parsley and Grana Padano.

Serves 4

Grana Padano and Mascarpone Cheese Mousse Prosciutto Roll

  • 6 ounces fresh mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Finely cut chives
  • 8 slices Prosciutto di San Daniele
  • Fennel (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

    1. Mix together in bowl: mascarpone cheese, Grana Padano cheese, salt, pepper and chives. Blend well to form smooth mixture.
    2. Place spoonful mixture on end of prosciutto slice and roll tightly.
    3. Leave rolls in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
    4. To assemble, cut rolls diagonally in 2 parts and place 2 in middle of plate. If desired, add fennel alongside, julienned and lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
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Serves 4

Crêpes With Swiss Chard, Grana Padano, Fresh Tomato and Basil

  • 8 crêpes
  • 1/2 pound swiss chard
  • 6 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Grana Padano cheese, to taste
  • Pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • 2 medium-size-tomatoes
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil

    1. Prepare or buy pre-made crêpes.
    2. Cook swiss chard in salted water until tender, drain, pat dry and chop.
    3. Mix chard with ricotta, egg yolks, handful grated Grana Padano, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Blend well.
    4. Spread mixture onto crêpes. Close like a small bag and place seam-side down in buttered oven-proof dish.
    5. Sprinkle crêpes with more grated Grana Padano and bake in oven at 350°F about 15 minutes.
    6. Meanwhile place tomatoes into boiling water a few seconds. Drain, peel, remove seeds and dice pulp.
    7. To serve, place tablespoon diced tomato on plate. Put one crêpe on top of another and sprinkle with pieces of two basil leaves. Top with drizzle of oil and serve immediately.
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Serves 4

SOURCE: Grana Padano

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