It’s no secret that we eat out – or under lockdown, order in – A LOT but there are certain things we’ve always got in the fridge no matter what, and the main one is cheese. There are normally a few different chunks knocking around, including a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s actually known as the ‘King of Cheeses’ as it’s one of the oldest cheeses in the world and it’s produced in much the same way as it was centuries ago; it’s still 100% natural with zero additives.

As it’s a PDO product, Parmigiano Reggiano can only be made in a specific area of northern Italy that encompasses Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua – to the right of the River Po – and Bologna – to the left of the River Reno. The entire process, from the feeding of the cattle to the quality checking of each giant wheel of cheese, has to be done in this area, so if it’s not got Parmigiano Reggiano stamped on it, it’s not Parmesan – don’t let those other hard cheeses fool you!

Parmigiano Reggiano is matured for a minimum of twelve months, but it ages well so it can be taken up to 40 months and beyond, getting stronger and spicier the older it gets. The different flavour profiles of the different ages makes it a super versatile ingredient and way more that just a pasta topping. You can eat the cheese on its own as it pairs well with a range of wines and you can even use the rind in cooking – think of it like a cheesy stock cube – so don’t go binning the end bits.

So, if you’ve got some Parmigiano Reggiano ready to go, have go at these four recipes created by some of our fave foodies.

Go pesto heavy with this recipe from Thoroughly Modern Milly.

It’s all about the cheese and chive scones with Turkish chilli butter with food, travel and recipe writer Helen Graves.

Parmigiano Reggiano takes centre stage on this cheese board of dreams from food, drink & travel website Crummbs.

Try this failsafe potato gnocchi recipe from pasta consultant Carmela Sereno Hayes.