Pizza is a beloved dish that has been enjoyed for centuries, and it’s no secret that cheese is a crucial ingredient in making the perfect pie.
While mozzarella is the go-to cheese for most pizza lovers, there are other options out there that can elevate your pizza game to the next level. One such cheese is Asiago, a nutty and creamy Italian cheese that has been gaining popularity in recent years.
But is Asiago cheese good on pizza? In this article, we’ll explore the unique qualities of Asiago cheese and how it can enhance your pizza experience.
So grab a slice and let’s dive in!
Is Asiago Cheese Good On Pizza?
Asiago cheese is a versatile cheese that can be used in a variety of dishes, including pizza. Its nutty and creamy flavor profile makes it a great addition to any pizza, especially if you’re looking for something different from the traditional mozzarella.
Asiago cheese is a hard, grating cheese that is similar to Parmesan. However, unlike Parmesan, Asiago has a creamier texture that is similar to an aged cheddar. This texture makes it perfect for melting on top of a pizza, adding a unique aromatic and textural quality.
One of the benefits of using Asiago cheese on pizza is that it’s not overwhelming in flavor. This means that it won’t compete with other flavors on your pizza, allowing you to enjoy all the different toppings without any one ingredient overpowering the others.
Another benefit of using Asiago cheese on pizza is that it’s not as dry as Parmesan. This means that it won’t get hard and dry enough to stay in shakers without gumming up. Additionally, its higher fat content prevents it from ever getting too hard and dry.
When using Asiago cheese on pizza, it’s important to use it sparingly. Because it has a strong flavor profile, a little goes a long way. You can combine it with mozzarella and Parmesan for a delicious blend of flavors.
What Is Asiago Cheese?
Asiago cheese is a semi-hard, cow’s milk cheese that originated in the northern regions of Italy, specifically the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige areas. It is a versatile cheese that can range in texture from soft and smooth to hard and crumbly, depending on how long it is aged. Asiago cheese has a sweet and nutty flavor profile that makes it a great addition to a variety of dishes, including pizza.
Authentic Asiago cheese has D.O.P. status, meaning that it can only be produced in specific regions of Northern Italy. There are different age varieties of Asiago, ranging from soft, fresh, and smooth to hard, salty, and crumbly. The younger Asiago cheese (Asiago Pressato) is semi-soft and mild in flavor, making it perfect for sandwiches and salads. The aged Asiago (Asiago d’allevo) has a more intense, nutty flavor that is perfect for sauces, soups, and baked goods like focaccia bread.
Asiago cheese is a great alternative to traditional mozzarella on pizza because it adds a unique flavor and texture without being overwhelming. Its creamier texture makes it perfect for melting on top of pizza, while its strong flavor profile means that you only need to use it sparingly. Asiago cheese can also be combined with other cheeses like mozzarella and Parmesan for a delicious blend of flavors.
The Flavor Profile Of Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other cheeses. It has a nutty and buttery taste that is both salty and tangy. The flavor of Asiago cheese can vary depending on its age, with the fresher version having a milder taste and the aged version having a sharper, more intense flavor.
The texture of Asiago cheese is also distinct. Unlike Parmesan, which is dry and crumbly, Asiago has a creamier texture that is similar to an aged cheddar. This texture makes it perfect for melting on top of a pizza, adding a rich and creamy element to the dish.
One of the great things about Asiago cheese is that it pairs well with a variety of toppings. Its strong flavor can stand up to bold ingredients like spicy sausage or roasted vegetables, while its creamy texture complements milder toppings like mushrooms or onions.
How Asiago Cheese Compares To Mozzarella On Pizza
While mozzarella is the traditional cheese used on pizza, Asiago cheese can be a great alternative. Mozzarella has a mild flavor and a stretchy texture that makes it perfect for pizza. However, Asiago cheese has a nuttier and creamier flavor profile that can add a unique twist to your pizza.
Asiago cheese is also a harder cheese than mozzarella, which means it won’t melt as quickly or become as gooey. This can be an advantage if you’re looking for a more solid and textured pizza. Additionally, because Asiago cheese is not as dry as Parmesan, it won’t get too hard and dry on your pizza.
When compared to mozzarella, Asiago cheese has a stronger flavor that can stand up to bolder toppings like spicy sausage or roasted vegetables. It also has a more complex flavor profile that can add depth to your pizza.
Best Pizza Toppings To Pair With Asiago Cheese
When it comes to pairing toppings with Asiago cheese on pizza, there are a variety of options that can enhance its nutty and creamy flavor profile. Here are some of the best pizza toppings to pair with Asiago cheese:
1. Smoked Bacon: The saltiness of smoked bacon pairs perfectly with the nutty flavor of Asiago cheese. Add some sliced bacon on top of your pizza for a delicious and savory combination.
2. Fig Preserve: Sweet fig preserve can add a unique and unexpected flavor to your pizza. Spread it over the crust before adding your toppings for a sweet and savory balance.
3. Arugula: The peppery taste of arugula can complement the nuttiness of Asiago cheese. Add some fresh arugula leaves on top of your pizza after it’s cooked for a burst of freshness.
4. Balsamic Reduction: A drizzle of balsamic reduction can add a tangy sweetness to your pizza that pairs well with the creamy texture of Asiago cheese.
5. Spinach: Fresh spinach leaves can add a healthy and flavorful addition to your pizza. The earthy taste of spinach pairs well with the nutty notes of Asiago cheese.
Tips For Using Asiago Cheese On Pizza
If you’re planning to use Asiago cheese on your pizza, here are some tips to help you get the most out of this delicious cheese:
1. Use a high-quality Asiago cheese: When it comes to cheese, quality matters. Look for a high-quality Asiago cheese that has a rich and nutty flavor profile. This will ensure that your pizza has a delicious and unique taste.
2. Use Asiago as a finishing ingredient: Asiago cheese is best used as a finishing ingredient on your pizza. This means that you should sprinkle it on top of your pizza after it has finished cooking. This will allow the cheese to melt slightly, adding a creamy texture and nutty flavor to your pizza.
3. Combine with other cheeses: While Asiago cheese is delicious on its own, it can also be combined with other cheeses for a more complex flavor profile. Try combining it with mozzarella and Parmesan for a delicious blend of flavors.
4. Use sparingly: Because Asiago cheese has a strong flavor profile, it’s important to use it sparingly on your pizza. A little goes a long way, so be sure to sprinkle it lightly over your pizza.
5. Cook carefully: When cooking with Asiago cheese, be careful not to overcook it. Asiago can brown easily, so if you’re cooking it on your pizza, place it underneath the mozzarella to prevent browning.
By following these tips, you can create a delicious and unique pizza that features the nutty and creamy flavor of Asiago cheese.
Where To Find Asiago Cheese For Your Pizza-making Needs
If you’re interested in using Asiago cheese on your pizza, you may be wondering where to find it. Fortunately, Asiago cheese is widely available at most grocery stores and specialty cheese shops.
When shopping for Asiago cheese, look for the authentic Italian version, which is fresh and supple. The American version of Asiago is a hard, grating cheese that is best used for finishing off dishes rather than melting on top of pizza.
Some popular brands of Asiago cheese include BelGioioso, Sartori, and Stella. These brands can be found at most major grocery stores, as well as specialty cheese shops.
If you’re looking for a more unique or artisanal version of Asiago cheese, check out local cheese shops or farmers’ markets. These places often carry locally-made cheeses that are not available in mainstream grocery stores.
When purchasing Asiago cheese for your pizza-making needs, make sure to check the expiration date and store it properly to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.