Have you heard of Locatelli Cheese?
This type of cheese is a popular item used in Italian cuisine that can add flavor and depth to dishes, so it’s no surprise many are interested in learning how to use the cheese.
While Locatelli cheese may seem intimidating at first, it’s easy to substitute if you’re looking for another option.
To make cooking with this delicious cheese easier, here’s an overview of how to use Locatelli Cheese as well as the five best substitutes.
What is Locatelli Cheese?
Locatelli cheese (pronounced loh-kuh-TELL-ee) is a variety of Italian grating cheese.
Its primary component is sheep’s milk and it is aged for at least a year, producing a sharp flavor and hard texture that makes it great for grating, sprinkling on pasta, or topping pizza.
It is sometimes known as ‘Romano cheese’, but the two are not the same, as Romano cheese typically has a milder flavor and creamier texture.
The history of Locatelli cheese dates back to 18th century Italy where shepherds crossbred their sheep with northern cattle to create dairy animals whose milk was ideal for making cheese.
This created an exclusively Italian variety of hard sheep’s milk cheeses known as pecorino romano or Locatelli.
This hard, crumbly cheese can be used in a wide variety of recipes or simply topped on salads or pasta dishes for added flavor.
It can also be melted over vegetables in place of Parmesan or grated over rice casseroles for an extra nutty flavor.
Plus, Locatelli grates more finely than other Parmesans do so it’s ideal for gratin dishes where a very fine grain is preferred.
As such, there are many dishes that require Locatelli to really make them great.
When using this unique Italian delicacy in your recipes, you may need to find some suitable substitutes in case you have trouble sourcing authentic Locatelli cheese.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Locatelli Cheese
If you’re looking for an alternative to Locatelli, there are five delicious substitutes that you can use in its place:
1 – Pecorino Romano
Pecorino Romano is an Italian cheese very similar to Locatelli in flavor.
It is also made with sheep’s milk, but it gets its distinct flavor from being aged for a minimum of five months.
Pecorino Romano has a sharp and salty taste and is used in many Italian dishes and as a grating cheese.
Despite being harder than Locatelli, Pecorino Romano works great as a substitute and imparts the same flavors recommended for many recipes.
2 – Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is an excellent substitute for Locatelli cheese, due to its hard texture, nutty flavor and salty finish.
This aged cheese also packs a punch of umami flavor and combines well with many foods.
Parmesan is one of the most popular cheeses in the world and is a key ingredient in many Italian dishes.
When opting for Parmesan as a substitute for Locatelli, it’s important to keep in mind that this cheese has much more intensity than Locatelli does, so the end result may be saltier and more flavorful than desired.
It’s best used as a topping or focal element in dishes such as salads or pastas.
3 – Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano cheese is one of the oldest Italian cheeses and is made from partially skimmed cow’s milk.
This cheese has a hard texture, is off-white or straw-yellow in color, and is formed into wheels or blocks.
The flavor profile of Grana Padano cheese is sweet and nutty, slightly similar to that of Parmigiano Reggiano (locatelli cheese).
Grana Padano cheese can be used as an alternative to locatelli cheese in the same dishes, such as pasta and risotto.
This semi-aged cheese pairs best with robust wines and mature cooked meats.
4 – Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese is a pale yellow cheese with a smooth, semi-firm texture and a tangy flavor that grows sharper with age.
It is made from cow’s milk in the Asiago region of Italy.
Aged Asiago often has the same nutty, sharp flavor as Locatelli, which makes it an excellent replacement for the hard-to-find Italian classic.
It also melts well and has similar melty versatility as Locatelli — so it works well for dishes such as gratins and casseroles when you need to add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
5 – Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese is a popular Spanish cheese, produced in the La Mancha region of Spain.
It is made with pasteurized sheep’s milk and has a distinctive flavor and texture when made in that region.
Manchego varies in age, as it can be aged anywhere from two months to two years, which also affects its flavor and texture.
The different aging levels give the cheese a sharp grassy or nutty taste.
It is often enjoyed as part of an appetizer or cracker platter or used as an ingredient in many dishes such as omelets, frittatas, soups and sauces.
Manchego can be eaten alone with bread or olives or melted into sandwiches for added depth of flavor.
In conclusion, Locatelli cheese is a beloved Italian cheese that has been around for centuries.
It is made from sheep’s or goat’s milk, and it has a firm texture with nutty and buttery notes.
Locatelli cheese pairs wonderfully with a variety of dishes, from salads to roasted vegetables.
However, due to its higher fat content, some people may choose to look for healthier alternatives.
Fortunately, there are several great substitutes available that offer similar flavors and textures.