Provolone is a cheese made from cow’s milk processing. It is recognized for the typical shape that can be spherical, cone-shaped or “salami” and originates from northern Italy, in particular it comes from the areas of the Po Valley of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna (hence the PDO name of Provolone Valpadana), there are several Provolone del Monaco, another DOP product but of Campania origin, and the “hanged” provolone, a typical Lucanian preparation in which the cheese is hooked over the embers and left to melt.
The main feature of this pasta filata cheese, in addition to its appearance and preservation method, is related to the taste: it can be both sweet and spicy. In the first case there is a softer and more elastic cheese, added with calf rennet, more delicate, while in the case of spicy provolone the pasta is much more compact and hard, and the processing takes place with the addition of milk rennet sheep or goat.
Provolone in the kitchen
Both sweet and spicy provolone can be eaten both raw and cooked: in fact they are tasty cheeses with a pleasant cut consistency, but also from spun pasta and therefore ideal for being melted and made to spin in recipes in the oven or in a pan. In the case of sweet provolone, the best raw match is with bitter salads such as radicchio and arugula to enhance its sweet taste, or with spinach and zucchini cooked in a pan, while the spicy provolone is well suited both to savory dishes such as peppers and pinzimonio that matches with sweet fruit such as pears or sweet and sour dishes such as eggplant caponata.
When cooked, however, provolone regains elasticity and is a tasty addition to focaccias and savory pies, but also to pizza together with mozzarella, or as an ingredient for gratinating. It can also be cooked on its own or fried and then cut into stringy and tasty morsels.
The nutritional values of provolone
Provolone is a cheese rich in calcium and phosphorus but also in saturated fatty acids and sodium, which makes it a food that is not very suitable in the diet of those suffering from hypertension or overweight. 100 grams of provolone contain around 351 kcal. In case of lactose intolerance it is good not to take this cheese, even if it is not particularly rich in it.