Cheese is an ancient food, possibly originating in Egypt and brought back to Italy by visitors (soldiers?) around 6,000 years ago. The center for cheese making was Rome, with many artisans experimenting with cheese made from sheep, goats and cows. The Roman artisans were credited with developing the techniques for aging and preserving cheese. While there are many cheeses made throughout Italy with familiar names like provolone, mozzarella, fontina, asiago and gorgonzola, today we focus on the three aged hard cheeses that are most important to our dishes at all three M’tucci’s locations: Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
These cheeses are only similar in the sense that they are made of only milk and rennet, and aged for a minimum amount of time: Parmigiano for 18 months (we buy only 24-month old parm), Grana for nine months and Pecorino for at least five months. Each is made in a different region of Italy and has a different flavor profile.
Grana Padano - is similar to Parmigiano in flavor and is made from cow’s milk in the Po River Valley of northeastern Italy. All of the pastas and pizzas at M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria are made with Grana. “We like it because it has a bright, nutty flavor, akin to the best parmesan, but it also has little salt crystals that impart awesome bursts of flavor onto any dish,” said Chef/Partner Shawn Cronin. It is not quite as salty as Parmigiano and it is usually cheaper. I normally buy Grana for grating over pasta or making pesto.
Parmigiano-Reggiano - this cheese comes from partly-skimmed milk from pasture grazed cows in the Emilia Romagna region surrounding Bologna, Parma and Pisa. It is aged a minimum of 18 months in the form of a wheel which usually weighs around 80 pounds. We serve Parmagiano-Reggiano on our charcuterie boards at all three locations. I like to use a vegetable peeler to shave curls of it on my salads. When the wedge is finished, I keep the rinds in the freezer in a baggie and add them to minestrone or pasta e fagioli soup while it cooks. As a grated cheese over pasta, it usually pairs better with butter-based sauces. One notable exception is the use of it in pesto sauce, which is made with olive oil
Pecorino Romano - pecora means sheep in Italian and, when aged, this sheep’s milk cheese is distinctive. It has a bright, tangy, salty flavor that the late cookbook author, Marcella Hazan, says is perfect for stronger flavored pasta sauces containing broccoli, rapini, or those that are made with olive oil. Although it originated in the area around Rome, Pecorinos are also made in Tuscany and Sardinia and can be found as a young cheese, as well as one aged for grating.
People who are lactose intolerant can digest sheep’s milk cheeses, since the lactose is set free in the whey.
I like the flavor of it and always combine some of it with Parmigiano when I make pesto. Our chef’s at M’tucci’s Italian and M’tucci’s Moderno use it grated or in ribbons on our pastas and pizzas.
Always look for the imprint of the cheese’s name on the rind. If there is no imprint, it’s not authentic. Usually, it’s best to buy as much as you think you will use in 2-3 weeks. Never grate an aged cheese ahead of time (they can dry out and lose their flavor). They are best stored wrapped in wax paper, then wrapped with foil or placed in a baggie in the refrigerator.
We sell all three cheeses at M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria.
NEWS FROM M’TUCCI’S
Lobster-Crab-Shrimp Ravioli, Lobster Cream Sauce, Pink Patagonian Shrimp, Local Micro Greens, Shaved Parmesan
Harris Ranch Beef, Wild Mushroom, Local Spring Onion, Heirloom Tomato, Porcini Cream Sauce, Fussilloni Pasta
Pan Seared Fish:
Ruby Red Trout, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Artichoke Heart, Sautéed Arugula, Lemon Butter Caper Sauce
Cut of The Day:
24 oz Porter House, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Lemon, Balsamic Reduction
Strawberry Cream Cake, Brown Sugar Crumble, Strawberry Jam, White Carmel
2017 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc
2016 Murphy Goode Pinto Noir
7 Glass / 25 Bottle
Our new Summer Menu is online now. We have added a few new dishes and updated some of your favorites to reflect the fresh produce now available. You can view it online by clicking here.
Father’s Day, June 16 - Treat Dad to Brunch or an evening meal. Make reservations now.
Pork Tenderlion $21
The Pork equivalent of a beef tenderloin, it is a long, tender cut of Duroc Pork. Comes with Creamy Mascarpone Polenta, Grilled Asparagus, and a Dijon Lemon Butter Sauce.
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Frescobaldi 'Remole' Super Tuscan, Italy $7/$28
California Halibut $26
This lean, white-fleshed fish has a delicate flavor and flakes easily.
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Tomaresca Chardonnay, Abruzzo, Italy $7/$28
Hand Cut Steak:
24 oz NY Strip $31
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon, California $9/$40
Friday, 8:30: Cali Shaw Live!
Our new Summer menu is coming soon.
M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria
May 29: Beer Week Tap Takeover with Steel Bender Brewyard - We’ll feature SkullBucket IPA, ETTu Brut IPA, Berliner Weisse and the Kolsch. Albuquerque Beer Week
May 29, 6:00 - 8:00: La Cumbre Westside Beer Pairing. Four Cicchettis (small bites) paired with 4 4oz beers for $20. No reservations or tickets, but there will be a limited supply. Watch our Instagram and Facebook page for the bites and beers.
Every Thursday - Sunday: M’tucci’s pizzas, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards are available La Cumbre Westside. Look for the M’tucci’s server and we bring the food to you!
M’TUCCI’S MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
Only week week left in the May Photo Contest, so enter soon and enter often. Post a photo from M’tucci’s with friends, food or beverages on your Facebook page or your Instagram feed and tag the photo #lovemtuccis. The winning photo is chosen from the three photos with the most likes.
M’TUCCI’S AROUND TOWN
Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, Raisin Rosemary and Focaccia.
Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.
SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT & DISCOUNTS
Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.
M’TUCCI’S ITALIAN WEDNESDAY PRIX FIXE DINNERS
Details of our three course dinners paired with three wines will be published on Facebook and Instagram every Wednesday. 3 course + 3 wines for $25 per person, tax and gratuity not included.
Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.
MTUCCI’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here
ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE - BEST OF THE CITY
We would appreciate your vote and support in the newest Best of the City poll. We feel pretty strongly that we are the best in these categories: Bartender, Bloody Mary, Craft Cocktails, Happy Hour, Appetizer Menu, Brunch, Chef, Dessert, Gourmet Pizza, Pizza and Wine List. We won last year for Waitstaff and Italian Restaurant and would love to keep our record intact. Click here to vote.
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Ciao until next Friday!