When we talk about DOP cheese from Emilia Romagna, we immediately think about Parmigiano Reggiano as it is the most prominent Italian cheese. It is a true reflection of its place of origin and the art of generations and generations of cheese artisans. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard, dry cheese made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It has a hard pale-golden rind and a straw-coloured interior with a rich, intense flavour. These cheeses are aged at least two years. Parmigiano-Reggiano has been called the “King of Cheeses” and Italians don’t just throw this phrase on any old cheese.
Spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano muffins
It is an easy appetizer recipe which can be prepared within a few minutes. Moreover, these can be stored for up to 18 months.
250 g (9 oz) plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
75 g (3 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano
100 g (4 oz) spinach, cooked, cooled and chopped
240 ml (8fl oz) milk
90 ml (3fl oz) vegetable oil
These wonderfully light savoury muffins are perfect for breakfast or brunch – or just enjoy them as a snack when you’re feeling puckish.
Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano finely, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190°C / fan oven 170°C / Gas Mark 5. Put eight paper muffin cases into a muffin pan, or line them with squares of greaseproof paper.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, about two-thirds of the Parmigiano Reggiano and the spinach. In a large jug, beat together the egg, milk and vegetable oil.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Using a metal spoon, stir until just combined. You must not beat this mixture or stir it too much. It should be quite lumpy, but there should be no traces of dry flour.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Serve whilst warm.
Cooking tip: Press out the excess water from the cooked spinach with your hands or use the back of a spoon. If you’re wondering why sugar is in the recipe, this is because it improves the texture and flavour of the muffins.
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Source: Parmigiano Reggiano