The next time you're rolling out dough for a homemade pizza, or simply don't know what cheese to stuff your strudel or saltimbocca with, try reaching for a wedge of Asiago. Asiago, a cow's milk cheese, has been produced for centuries on the foggy plains of the Veneto region. This DOC cheese is made in the provinces of Vicenza, Padua, and Treviso, as well as the Trentino-Alto Adige region.

Young or aged, Asiago is used extensively in Italian kitchens. Young, sweet Asiago, known as Asiago Pressato , can be used to stuff pasta or savory pies, or to top pizzas.
It is aged less than 6 months, and is prized for its creamy yet delicate flavor. Aged Asiago is firm and slightly spicy-perfect for grating over pasta or green vegetables, or simply for savoring with a full-bodied, robust red wine.

Asiago that is aged for at least 6 months to 1 year is known as Asiago d'Allevo , and is characterized by a more pronounced, sharper flavor than its younger version.
There are ways to detect whether your Asiago is simply middle-aged (matured 6 months), or stravecchio (aged between 1 1/2 and 2 years): The color of the cheese changes from a creamy shade of white to a pale straw hue as it ages, and the sweet flavor intensifies and becomes more pungent with time.

Buying Tips Keep the above-mentioned color differences in mind when buying Asiago; young Asiago should definitely be lighter in color than aged Asiago. Neither should be yellow or at all brown in color. When sliced open, a fresh wedge of Asiago should also reveal an abundance of tiny pocks; if there are no holes, an undesirable, highly acidic milk was likely used in the production process.

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