This Is the Best Cheese to Use for Your Pasta, According to Giada De Laurentiis

published Mar 16, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
bowl of fettuccine alfredo at the table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Is there a more perfect food combination than pasta and cheese? I’d say not, and some of the most popular pasta dishes out there would agree with me. Cheese ravioli, manicotti, lasagna — all with cheese as a core ingredient. Serve me a plate of spaghetti and meatballs without a generous shower of grated parmesan? I’ll tell you to take it away immediately.

Apparently, celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis would agree, and she’s got the Italian bona fides to back it up. Her Everyday Italian cooking show was one of the most popular on the Food Network and her many cookbooks continue to inform and influence fans of Italian food and culinary history. (Although just recently, De Laurentiis announced that after 20 years at Food Network, she’s headed to Amazon Studios as part of a multi-year development deal.)

During a recent sit down with Tasting Table, the star shared that two of her favorite Italian dishes, Cacio e Pepe and Pecorino Tartufo, required the use of what she considers to be the ultimate cheese for pasta – Pecorino Romano. This sharp, tangy cheese is the sheep’s milk counterpart to Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan, which are both made with cow’s milk. 

Pecorino can be grated much the same way parmesan can, and I personally love to keep both cheeses on hand at all times. It’s the perfect cheese for making Italian polpette, and I even include big pieces or shavings of pecorino on my cheese boards. Drizzle a chunk of pecorino with some good balsamic vinegar and tell me your taste buds haven’t gone straight to heaven.

So the next time you’re buying some cheese for pasta night, do like Giada and reach for the Pecorino instead of the Parm. It’s the cheese your pasta begs for, trust me.