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Enjoy these delicious Grana Padano cheese recipes from Icons of European Taste Brand Ambassador Chuck Hughes:

Minestrone with Grana Padano Broth  |  Lemon Pepper Risotto with Grana Padano

Grana Padano Polenta with Meatballs  |  Crispy Grana Padano Rolls 


Minestrone with Grana Padano Cheese Broth

Minestrone _ Grana Padano Rind Broth with Beans, Mirepoix, Tomatoes _ Grana Padano Crouton


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

 1 cup chopped butternut squash

¼ cup tomato paste

 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

 1 cup chopped zucchini

 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

28 oz can diced tomatoes, with its liquid

 6 cups vegetable broth

    Rind from the Grana Padano

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 bay leaves

    Pinch of red pepper flakes

    Freshly ground black pepper

 1 cup small shell pasta

15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped 

    Freshly grated Grana Padano cheese, for garnish


Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, squash, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.


Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the zucchini, oregano, thyme, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, Grana Padano rind, salt, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and some freshly ground pepper and bring to a simmer.


Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and spinach. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the spinach is tender.


Adjust seasoning if needed and serve with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese.


Makes 4-6 servings 


Grana Padano Cheese Polenta with Meatballs

Fried Polenta Bites (Grana Padano) Meatballs with Shaved Grana Padano_APPROVED.jpg

   Olive oil

 1 medium onion, chopped

 4 fat cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

 12 oz cans tomato paste

      4 basil leaves

1250 mL water

Ingredients – Meatballs

 1 pound ground pork

 1 large egg

½ cup grated Grana Padano cheese

¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper


Make the Meatballs

In a large bowl mix ground pork, egg, Grana Padano cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Form into small balls and set aside.


In a dutch oven over medium high heat, add a splash of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, sear the meatballs in batches being careful not to overcrowd the dutch oven. Once they are all seared off, set aside.


Turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the basil, water, and the seared meatballs and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 3-3 ½ hours.

Make the Polenta

In a large pot, add the chicken stock and salt and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly until there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every 5 to 6 minutes. When the polenta is too thick to whisk, stir with a wooden spoon. 


Polenta is done when the texture is creamy and the individual grains are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Grana Padano. Pour the polenta into a casserole dish. Cover the top with plastic wrap pressing down so it makes contact with the polenta. Chill overnight.


Set up your breading station. Put the flour into a wide bowl. Mix the eggs and buttermilk together in another bowl and add the breadcrumbs to another bowl.


Cut the polenta into bite sized cubes. Roll each cube in the flour, then coat with the egg mixture and then cover in the breadcrumbs. 


Set up your frying station. Place the 2 L oil into a large pot and heat to 350°F. Set up a plate with a towel on it. Drop each piece of breaded polenta into the heated oil and fry until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt as they come out of the oil.


Arrange each piece of fried polenta on a plate. Top each piece with a meatball and a bit of sauce. Grate Grana Padano cheese all over.


Makes 4 servings 

Polenta wit meatballs

 2 eggs

¼ cup buttermilk

 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

 2 L vegetable oil for frying

Ingredients – Polenta

1100 ml chicken stock

      1 teaspoon sea salt

      1 cup polenta

      3 tablespoons butter

      2 cups grated Grana Padano cheese

       1 cup flour


Lemon Pepper Risotto with Grana Padano Cheese

Grana Padano Risotto with Pepper _ Lemon_APPROVED.jpg

1 cup carnaroli rice

½ teaspoon sea salt

    Fresh cracked black pepper

    Zest of 1 lemon

 1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese


1 L chicken stock

   2 tablespoons butter, divided

   1 tablespoon olive oil

   1 small onion, diced small

   3 fat cloves garlic, smashed and chopped


Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and keep warm. 

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil. Once the butter is bubbling, add the onions and cook for 2 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and the rice and cook for another minute stirring constantly.

Add 1 ladle of broth (about ½ cup to ¾ cup), stir, and leave it alone until broth is nearly absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add another ladle of broth and stir again. Cook undisturbed until the broth is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat until the rice is al dente. You may have a little bit of broth remaining.

Stir in the remaining butter as well as the rest of the ingredients and serve, topping with more grated Grana Padano cheese.


Makes 4 servings 


Crispy Grana Padano Cheese Rolls with Greens, Pickles and Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele

Crispy Grana Padano Rolls with Greens, Pickles and Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di Sa


200 g grated Grana Padano cheese

    4 slices Prosciutto di Parma or Prosciutto di San Daniele

    4 slices garlic pickle

    1 cup arugula


Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and keep warm. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out 4 circular piles of the grated Grana Padano. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until flat and golden brown.


Working quickly, lay down the prosciutto over the cheese, then a slice of pickle, then a bit of arugula. Carefully roll each piece up.


Makes 4 rolls 

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