Pecorino Sardo Gran Cru is produced in Sassari (Sardinia) with 100% sheep's milk. The texture and flavors remind me of Parmigiano-Reggiano, probably because the same cheese-making techniques are used on both cheeses. This rich, nutty, slightly salty cheese is aged 20 months and has a mild, fruity finish. We like to serve it with one of the spreads made by the same company - my favorite is the Fresh Pears with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, but it also works well naked with a glass of full-bodied red wine.
However, Gran Cru is versatile - not only does it work on a cheese board, but it's great for cooking. I found a cool recipe (below) for Sardinian Gnocchi - deelish! I know what we're having for dinner...
- 1 lb durum wheat flour (semolina)
- 3.5 oz lard
- 3.5 oz lean veal, chopped
- 3.5 oz lean pork, chopped
- 1 lb tomato sauce
- 2.5 oz Pecorino Sardo Gran Cru, chilly, grated
- 1 onion
- 1 sprig parsley
- 1 sprig rosemary
- salt & pepper
Work the semolina with a generous tbls of oil, a pinch of salt & pepper, and a small amount of water - just enough to obtain a soft but consistent mixture. Divide into pieces, shape into 2cm diameter sticks, and cut these into a length of 3cm. Dimple with your fingers, and then line them up, floured, on a pastry board.
In a pan, put 1 tbls of oil, the chopped onion, the lard, and saute. Add the chopped meat, chopped parsley and rosemary, and continue to saute. Blend in the tomato sauce and 1 ladle of water. Cook slowly for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.
Cook the "gnocchi" in abundant salted water, drain them and dress with the sauce and the grated Gran Cru. Serve hot & enjoy!