WHAT IS GRANA PADANO SAUCE?
It is a simple yet iconic cheese sauce to make. While this recipe is often served with long cuts like fettuccine, short cuts work equally as well. The addition of flour as an ingredient is just to thicken the sauce, so if you’re abstaining from gluten you can instead simmer the sauce (low heat) to gradually evaporate some moisture. Or use some arrowroot instead. It is a popular thickening agent that is also gluten-free.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING GRANA PADANO SAUCE
This sauce is a version of Alfredo sauce using Grana Padano cheese instead of Parmesan Reggiano. Grana padano is a tangy cheese so your pasta will be anything but mild. Like most cheese sauces, the dairy is a substitutable ingredient. For other cheeses, Fontina Val d’Aosta (more pungent), a blend of Ricotta and Provolone (shredded) or even GASP! Red Leicester will blend well. Parmesan for example is a more popular pasta cheese from this part of Italy. However it is much more expensive and in restaurants often blended to cut down on costs. Back when Parmesan prices really went through the rough, everyone was talking about how Grana was going to become the new Parmesan. While that never happened, Grana Padano is often a better value ingredient for sauces and cooking. Also throwing in some tomato sauce or tomato paste (to give it a pink, creamy texture) will work.
WHAT GOES WELL WITH GRANA PADANO SAUCE?
Grana sauce (if not overcooked) is great at showcasing this formaggio’s robust flavor. Grating, shredding or dicing the cheese will allow smaller portions to melt faster. In terms of which pasta to use, with longer cuts use thick ones like fettuccine, linguine, tagliatelle or even papparadelle (to add some egg to the mix). Long cuts of a thinner nature like Angel Hair can be quickly overwhelmed depending on how thick your sauce is. Shorter pasta cuts are also possible but maybe don’t go quite as thick on the texture of the sauce. Also stay away from pastas that are traditionally soup cuts (tiny) or for baking (paccheri). While bread is often served as a side with a pasta dish, this is a LOT of starch and dairy rocketing towards your stomach in a short period of time. Mix it up instead with a small salad of cucumber or black beans!