The Three Best Restaurant Dishes with Parmigiano Reggiano in L.A.
Craving Parmigiano Reggiano? Discover the three best restaurant dishes in Los Angeles that use Parmigiano as an ingredient.
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Crazy for Parmigiano Reggiano? We picked the three best restaurant dishes in Los Angeles that use the king of Italian cheeses as an ingredient. Jump ahead to find our favorites!
Parmigiano Reggiano needs no introduction. Along with mozzarella, it’s probably the most famous Italian cheese in the world, and just by hearing its name, images of pasta, pizza, and other delicious Italian dishes come to mind.
But why is it so important to Italians? And what makes it the most imitated Italian cheese in the world?
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What’s the Deal with Parmigiano Reggiano?
In Italy, we are kind of obsessed with Parmigiano. It is present in any fridge, even the least stocked (out-of-town students, we’re looking at you). We hold on to the rinds to make our homemade broth more flavorful. When we are sick, we have pasta in bianco (meaning: “with no sauce”) with Parmigiano Reggiano. Doctors and dietitians recommend it to athletes, kids, and even babies (!).
Most pasta dishes just don’t feel complete without a dusting of Parmigiano at the end. Let alone dishes in which Parmigiano plays a fundamental role. Think of a creamy “risotto alla Milanese.” Without Parmigiano, it would just be yellow-colored rice with butter.
Parmigiano Reggiano is so popular and widely used that Italian chefs have fun getting creative with it. Just think of chef Massimo Bottura’s “Five Ages of Parmigiano”, one of the dishes that made him famous, featuring the famed cheese at five different aging points. In fact, you can pick among various degrees of aging (12, 18, 24, or 36 months) and even milks from different cow varieties. Look at how Bottura himself served it last time he was in Los Angeles: a drizzle of 50-year-old Aceto Balsamico from Modena, and that’s it (below).
As you can tell, Italians are very serious when it comes to Parmigiano—and you should too! Make sure to get the real one and avoid fakes and low-quality lookalikes. Parmigiano Reggiano is registered with a Protected Designation of Origin, which means that its production follows certain regulations and receives specific marks certifying its origin and quality standards. Since the 1930s, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has guaranteed that producers comply with these standards.
The Three Best Restaurant Dishes with Parmigiano Reggiano in Los Angeles
It goes without saying that Italian restaurants in LA use Parmigiano extensively. With so many Italian (and non-Italian) restaurants in town, and so many creative and talented chefs, it’s difficult to make a selection. That said, these are our favorite restaurant dishes in which Parmigiano Reggiano plays the leading role:
Nonna’s Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese at Rossoblu, DTLA Fashion District
Steve Samson’s new restaurant in Downtown LA, Rossoblu, is an ode to the cuisine of Bologna and Emilia Romagna. That’s exactly where Parmigiano Reggiano comes from, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see Parmigiano pretty much everywhere on the menu.
Among the many fresh pasta dishes (at Rossoblu, they roll their dough everyday by hand), we picked the tagliatelle, a dish that just reminds us of home. The ragu bolognese, true to its name, has a higher meat-to-tomato-sauce ratio than you would expect. The flavors are well-balanced, more delicate than most meat-based pasta sauces in town, and the grated Parmigiano complements the dish quite well.
CITY MARKET SOUTH
1124 San Julian St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Lasagnetta di Carne at Bar Toscana, Brentwood
How many times have you had lasagna in your life? But was it a spinach-flavored dough, like this one at Bar Toscana? It turns out, spinach-flavored pasta is key in the traditional, Bolognese-style lasagne verdi, aka green lasagna. Think of this pretty, appetizer-portion Lasagnetta as a refined version of a classic. And nothing says classic Italian food like Parmigiano Reggiano.
11633 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Risotto Milanese at Officine Brera, DTLA Arts District
If you think Italian food equals pasta, you’ll be surprised. Italy is Europe’s largest rice producer, which explains the diffusion of rice-based recipes among the home kitchens and restaurants of Northern Italy. Officine Brera, which opened last year in the Downtown Arts District, aims to represent Northern Italian cuisine, and their focus on risottos is part of this culinary tradition.
The Milanese is Officine Brera’s take on the classic “risotto alla milanese”, aka Milan-style risotto. They use vialone nano rice, saffron, and, of course Parmigiano Reggiano. The roasted marrowbone in the middle of the plate pays homage to, and at the same time reinvents, the traditional “risotto with ossobuco” dish.
1331 E6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Have you tried any of these dishes? Would you recommend different ones? Let us know in the comments. Happy grating everyone!
Article by Serena Boschi. Dish selection and description by Raffaele Asquer.
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