Asiago (ah-zee-AH-goh) is a cow’s milk cheese first made in the northern Veneto region of Italy. It’s crafted in two flavor and texture profiles. One is Pressato, the fresh Asiago. The other is the big flavored aged Asiago, Asiago d’Allevo. The fresher version will be a light straw color; with a semi-soft texture plus it will taste mild and a bit sweet.
As this cheese ages, it becomes a darker color and delivers a sharper and nuttier sensation. The texture also becomes harder so you can grate it on or in your favorite dish. Asiago is a pleasing substitute for Parmesan at any meal. Asiago can be enjoyed in those famous panini sandwiches and paired with Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG. What a combination with this wine and a robust panino!
What Is Asiago?
Asiago cheese is made in the Italian regions of Trentino and Veneto. It is sold in ripe and fresh varieties. The fresh Asiago is in pale yellow or white color with a thin rind and small jagged holes throughout. Also, it has a medium texture, like a firm sponge cake with a buttery aroma and delicately sweet and sour flavor. Fresh or young Asiago is also known as Asiago Pressato.
The aged Asiago can be pale yellow to amber yellow in color. It will be compact to a firm texture. Also, it has a yeasty and nutty aroma with a strong flavor. An aged Asiago is also known as Asiago D’Allevo.
Other countries may make Asiago-style cheese but for real, people look for D.P.O or D.O.P stickers. The price can vary depending on the age and origin of Asiago. The fresh and non-Italian Asiago are fairly cheaper than imported D.O.P Asiago.
Asiago Versus Parmesan
Shaved or grated Asiago is often confused with Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. It is because both are used in the same way. However, they are produced differently. Parmesan cheese is made in the midwest region of Italy with strict specifications. It is aged for two years on average. Parmesan is slightly sweeter than Aged Asiago but both can be used interchangeably in the recipes such as parmesan basket with yellow squash risotto.
Best Asiago Recipes
Smashed Meatball and Asiago Grilled Cheese Sandwich
You might have tried the Tuscan sandwich, but this meatball with the Asiago cheese sandwich is worth trying.
- Mozzarella – 3 Ounces
- Wheat Or Sourdough Bread – 2 Slices
- Cooked Spaghetti – 1/4 Cup, Al Dente
- Marinara Sauce – 1 Tbsp Plus Extra
- Cooked Meatballs – 3 To 4, Small
- Pesto – 1 Tbsp
- Asiago Cheese or Parmesan Cheese – 1/2 Tbsp
- Garlic – 1 Clove
- Salted Butter – 2 Tsp
- Start by adding half the mozzarella to the slice of bread.
- Add the cooked spaghetti, pesto, meatballs, marinara sauce, Asiago, and rest of the mozzarella to the slice of bread.
- Garnish the other slice of bread and set it aside.
- On a panini press or in a small skillet, increase the heat to medium and add butter. Once the bubbles start to subside, add the sandwich to and cook for a few minutes until both the sides of the slices of bread are evenly browned.
- Once the crust is completely crispy and the cheese has melted, rub the outside of the sandwich with garlic clove.
- Let the sandwich sit for a minute until the cheese has thickened.
- Serve with hot marinara sauce.
Simple Meat Lasagna
- Italian Three Meat Sauce – 4 Cup
- Lasagna Noodles – 12
- Ricotta Cheese – 24 Ounce
- Egg – 1, Beaten
- Italian Seasoning – 4 Tbsp, Divided
- Parsley – 1/2 Cup, Fresh, Chopped, Extra for Garnishing
- Kosher Salt – 2 Tsp
- Black Pepper – 1 Tsp
- Mozzarella Cheese – 8 Ounce, Shredded, Divided
- Gruyere Cheese – 8 Ounce, Shredded, Divided
- Parmesan Cheese – 3/4 Cup, Freshly Grated
- Asiago Cheese – 3/4, Freshly Grated
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large glass bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 3 tbsp Italian seasoning, beaten egg, and fresh parsley. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Spray a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with a cooking spray.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with enough meat sauce and add 3 lasagna noodles.
- Top with an even layer of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by a layer of shredded Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese.
- Finish the layering with grated Asiago and parmesan cheese in equal parts.
- Repeat the process three times and sprinkle the remaining Italian seasoning over the final layer.
- Now cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake it for another 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Creamy Four Cheese Pasta With Garlic
- Butter – 1 Tbsp
- Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp
- Garlic – 2 Cloves, Minced
- Cream Cheese – 2 Ounce, Softened to Room Temperature
- Heavy Cream – 1/2 Cup
- Asiago Cheese – 1/4 Cup, Grated
- Parmesan Cheese – 3/4 Cup, Divided
- Pecorino Romano Cheese – 1/2 Cup, Grated
- Cooked Spaghetti – 8 Ounce, Reserve ¼ Cup of Pasta Water
- Kosher Salt – To Taste
- Black Pepper – Freshly Ground, To Taste
- Italian Parsley – 1 Tsp, Finely Chopped
- In a large pasta pot, boil the water and season generously with salt. Cook the spaghetti or different types of pasta according to the package until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. Drain the spaghetti and rinse it under lukewarm water to prevent it from sticking while preparing the sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add minced garlic. Be careful not to brown the garlic and cook it until fragrant.
- Whisk the heavy cream and add Asiago, Parmesan, Romano, and cream cheese until you get a thick sauce.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and reserved pasta water to the sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes while tossing and stirring pasta. Make sure the pasta is completely coated in the sauce.
- Leave in the pan or transfer it to a serving platter. You can use the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan and chopped parsley for garnishing.
Serving of Asiago
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Now that the weather is cold, I enjoy grating Asiago on a savory Pasta e Fagioli Soup. An authentic recipe for this Italian specialty can be found right on this site. Chef Donatella Zampoli also recommends pairing her soup with Nipozzano. Of course, the old standby of a steaming bowl of pasta with your choice of sauce can be enhanced with a liberal topping of Asiago and several sips of the Tuscan wine.
California Dried Calimyrna
Another easy and delicious method of serving Asiago is to split a California Dried Calimyrna (golden) or Mission (black) Fig in half and place a slice of Asiago on top. Now properly execute The Cheese Highway with this combination and a glass of Nipozzano – you will experience why the Italians love their figs. Enjoy!
Asiago – A Hard Textured Italian Cheese
Asiago is a cow’s milk cheese, first produced in Italy. The texture of Asiago is dependent on its age. A fresh Asiago, also known as Asiago Pressato, is a smooth cheese with a buttery aroma and delicately sweet and sour flavor, whereas, aged Asiago or Asiago D’Allevo has a yeasty and nutty aroma with a strong flavor. You might find Asiago cheese in the market at different prices. It is because non-Italian Asiago cheese is cheaper than the imported ones.
A fresh Asiago and its varieties melt well if they have aged under a year. It makes them perfect for cheese sauces. Mature Asiago, on the other hand, is perfect for topping, grating, or shaving. You can make Simple Meat Lasagna with Asiago, Smashed Meatball and Asiago Grilled Cheese, and Creamy Four-Cheese Pasta. Also, Asiago cheese can be used to serve Pasta e Fagioli Soup and California Dried Calimyrna.