Pecorino Romano is no parmesan! Read how they differ, how to enjoy it and much more

Italy is famous for its cheese art, which is proven by this Italian Pecorino Romano cheese!

If you are a cheese lover, you should definitely not miss this type! It comes in different variations and varieties and maybe that’s why it’s so popular because it’s so unique!

Our article brings you all the important and interesting information!

What is Pecorino cheese?

We classify this cheese in the family of cheeses made from sheep’s milk.

The word pecorino is derived from the word “pecora” which means sheep in Italian.

It is a firm, salty cheese, made from sheep’s milk and occasionally from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk.

For hundreds of years in Italy, sheep farming was an essential element of rural life. Sheep provided many of the family’s basic needs, from cheese, milk, meat, to fleece from which to weave clothes and blankets. On the green plains of Lazio, specially bred sheep are fed fresh forage, which leads to the production of the full-flavored and aromatic milk that forms the basis of this cheese.

Each variety of Pecorino cheese has been granted protected designation status, which ensures that the cheese must be produced in certain regions of Italy from certain breeds of sheep using specific production methods.

A slice of delicious matured Italian cheese.

How is Pecorino cheese made?

The production of this cheese has largely remained untouched by modern technology and is largely still original.

Bacteria and rennet are added to the fresh milk, which creates the curd texture of the cheese. When the curd is separated, it is transferred to molds where it is salted by hand.

After thorough rinsing and additional salting, the cheese is ready for ripening.

After approximately 8 months, the color, taste and texture are checked.

Traditional production methods do not use any artificial fillers, additives or preservatives

The Pecorino Cheese Maker | The Artisans of Italy with Zak the Baker
Source: FUSION

What does Pecorino taste like?

Its texture is firm, with a high fat content, which it obtains from sheep’s milk. This milk also gives it a rich, buttery texture and pale yellow color.

As the cheese ages, it becomes saltier and firmer. Ripe varieties are harder and have a crumbly texture. If you taste the less ripe varieties, you will find that their taste is smoother, less salty and creamier, with undertones of burnt butter and spices.

What is the difference between Pecorino and Parmesan?

Parmesan is a hard Italian cheese made from skimmed, unpasteurized cow’s milk and undergoes a lengthy aging process (minimum two years and sometimes more than four). Overall, it tends to be drier as a result of aging.

Two similar cheeses, one tall and round the other oblong.

Types of Pecorino cheese

In the world, there are six types of this cheese, each of which has its own protected designation. Each variety has slight differences, such as truffles, nuts (typically walnuts or pistachios) being added to it in certain parts of southern Italy.

Pecorino romano – has a nutty and complex aroma, the most pronounced salty taste of all the other varieties and is usually aged between eight months and a year.

Pecorino sardo – typically has a softer, creamier feeling texture. Its taste is sweeter and it can be sold after 40 days, making it ideal for grating into herb sauces such as pesto, paired with fresh watermelon or making pesto.

Pecorino Toscano – can be consumed from 20 days of ripening up to three months. This cheese melts well and is especially delicious as a finishing touch after a meal, drizzled with honey or with pears or figs. Ripened grated cheese is great for pasta, soups and salads.

Pecorino siciliano – is often supplemented with pepper balls, which are added during the removal of whey in the production process. The ideal age is from 3 months to 18 months.

Pecorino di filiano – just light and delicate enough to pair with a good red wine.

Pecorino Crotone – Aged for a minimum of 90 days, it has a slightly stronger flavor that is particularly suited to soft fruit such as grapes or ripe pears.

Rows and columns of individual types of this cheese.

Nutritional values ​​of Pecorino (per 100 g)

Calorie Carbohydrates Sugars Fats Saturated fatty acids Proteins Fiber Salt
393 calories 4 g 0 g 32 g 21 g 29 g 0 g 1710 mg

How to cook with Pecorino cheese?

It’s a great addition to pasta dishes like cacio e pepe and pasta alla gricia or to these rich and strong cheese sauces
In Italy, it is traditionally enjoyed on its own, thanks to its delicate and complex taste, it goes well with a glass of red wine, a bowl of olives, a plate of cold meats and fresh watermelon. Ripe varieties are served at the end of a hearty dinner along with fresh fruit, nuts and honey
Cheese is best in flavor combinations with pears, beans, honey, dried figs and pickled onions
Try this delicious grilled zucchini and mint salad with it or our classic tomato fish salad
Fresh and young cheese goes best with rosé or aromatic white wine such as Vermentino di Gallura
Ripe varieties are best enjoyed with a full-bodied wine that can balance its intense taste, such as Chianti, Morellino di Scansano or Primitivo di Manduria
How to add grated cheese to cooked spaghetti.

What to replace Pecorino with?

The sharp notes of roasted nuts and caramelized butter offered by Parmesan can be a good alternative.

Grana Padano has a lower fat content and is not as strong in taste, but we can still consider it a good substitute, even if it is not as intense.

Cracked Grana Padano as a great substitute.
Grana Padano Source:


To store Pecorino, wrap it tightly in wax paper or parchment paper and store it in the refrigerator in the vegetable compartment. In this way, the cheese lasts for 2-3 weeks (then it dries and hardens).

Can Pecorino cheese be frozen?

Yes, it can be frozen, but you need to remember that its texture, smell and taste will start to deteriorate over time.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)