Locatelli is an Italian cheese made from whole sheep’s milk.
It’s a hard, dense cheese with a distinctive flavor and texture.
While Locatelli is a favorite among those who prefer to cook and bake with pure sheep’s milk cheeses, there are many alternatives that will provide similar results.
This article will discuss five of the best substitutes for Locatelli cheese to help you achieve the same taste and texture in your dishes without making drastic changes to your recipes.
What is Locatelli Cheese?
Locatelli is an Italian cheese that has been produced for over 400 years.
It is a hard cheese, similar to Parmesan, which has a mild and nutty flavor with a slight sharpness.
While it is commonly used to top pasta dishes, Locatelli can also be grated over soups, salads, and other dishes to enhance the flavor.
The name “Locatelli” comes from the Italian town of Lombardia where the cheese originated, but today most Locatelli cheese is sold in both block and pre-shredded forms in many grocery stores across the United States.
It usually comes in 5-pound batches but can be found in smaller sizes as well.
To identify authentic Locatelli cheese amongst its other denominations look for its distinctive green wax rind.
Locatelli is known for its mild flavor as compared to other hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano which tend to have sharper flavors due to an aging process that can take up to two years.
Those looking for an intense cheesy flavor may want to look elsewhere when shopping for substitutes for Locatelli Cheese.
How to Cook and Use Locatelli Cheese?
Locatelli cheese is a firm and crumbly Italian cheese that is produced from sheep’s or cow’s milk.
The name “Locatelli” refers to the fact that it originates from the Italian region of Lombardy, where it was first made in the 19th century.
It has a mild yet tangy flavor that makes it a popular choice for grating over pasta dishes and salads.
Although Locatelli cheese is ideally used freshly grated, it can also be aged for up to six months and its taste then becomes more intense and complex.
When using Locatelli cheese in cooking, it is best to grate or shred it just before adding it to your dish.
This ensures that you get the full flavor and aroma of the cheese while still preserving its texture and appearance.
When used as part of an ingredient mix or topping on dishes like pizzas, lasagnas, souffles and salads, some cooks may prefer to use pre-grated Locatelli cheese due to its more uniform texture.
Depending on what you are making, you can also choose between milder-tasting sheep’s milk Locatelli cheeses or those made with cow’s milk which have a fuller flavor but slightly grainier texture than those made with sheep’s milk.
5 Best Locatelli Cheese Substitutes to Consider
It is useful for both cooking and eating as part of a cheese board.
Because it has a distinct flavor, certain dishes require an alternative type of cheese, which can be substituted for Locatelli in most recipes.
Here are five of the best options to consider when looking for a flavorful substitute:
1 – Pecorino Romano
Pecorino Romano is the closest substitute for Locatelli cheese.
It is a hard, sharp-flavored Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk, just like Locatelli.
Its texture and flavor are similar to Locatelli as well, making it a great choice for pizza, pastas, and salads.
Pecorino Romano has been produced in Italy since Roman times — some sources date its origin to 8 BC.
It is easily available in any specialty grocery store.
Additionally, its slightly higher salt content makes it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their sodium intake.
2 – Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is one of the most popular types of cheese worldwide and shares a lot in common with Locatelli cheese.
While they come from different countries, they are quite similar in flavor and texture, with Parmesan slightly milder and crumblier than Locatelli.
Parmesan is an aged hard grating cheese made from cow’s milk, often aged for two years or more.
Its flavor is strong but not overpowering, with a slightly salty taste.
It pairs well with crackers, salads and even pasta dishes, making it a perfect Locatelli substitute in many recipes.
3 – Grana Padano Cheese
Grana Padano is a hard Italian cow milk cheese, similar in texture to Locatelli.
It has wide distribution, making it an accessible and widely-used substitute for Locatelli Cheese in pizza, pasta dishes and salads.
Grana Padano is aged for between nine and sixteen months, producing a lightly salty flavor and firm texture.
The cheese will melt if used in warm dishes.
The full range of age of this cheese means that the vary flavors increase as it ages.
It can be used grated – perfect for sprinkling over pasta – or cut into cubes which do not melt quickly when warmed up.
As with all hard cheeses, the best flavor comes from freshly grating the cheese before use.
4 – Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese is a semi-hard cheese named after the region in northern Italy of the same name where it is produced.
Two varieties of Asiago are traditionally made: a younger fresh cheese, called pressato, and an aged version often referred to as d’Allevo.
Asiago cheese is made from raw cow’s milk and is aged for between three to twelve months.
This gives it a yellow interior dotted with small holes and a pale yellow to pale brown waxed rind.
It has a mild, nutty taste with a hint of sweetness and can be used in a variety of dishes including salads, pastas, soups, vegetables and more.
It pairs exceptionally well with white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc or even fruity reds such as Merlot or Chianti.
Softer when young yet becoming harder as it ages; Asiago may be grated on anything from pizza to salads.
5 – Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese is a popular Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk, giving it a nutty flavor and crumbly, semi-firm texture.
Due to its high fat content, Manchego cheese has a creamy mouthfeel that makes it a good substitute for Locatelli cheese.
Additionally, Manchego is naturally aged for two months for optimum taste and richness.
It can be used in many dishes where Locatelli may typically feature such as pasta dishes or added to sandwiches or salads.
When using Manchego as a substitute for Locatelli, younger versions of the Manchego should be used since the older versions will be too crumbly for some recipes.
It can also be grated over dishes much like Locatelli.
The five best substitutes for Locatelli cheese are: Pecorino Toscano, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano and Gran Gaudenzio.
Each substitute has its own unique flavor profile and can be used in various dishes to add depth of flavor and texture.
Ultimately, it’s up to the chef’s preferences and the needs of the dish when selecting a substitute for Locatelli cheese.
Careful consideration of flavor profiles and desired texture will ensure you make the best decision possible when choosing a substitute for Locatelli cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Locatelli cheese?
Locatelli cheese is a hard, Italian cheese made from cow’s milk.
It is a classic Italian grating cheese that is often compared to Parmesan cheese in taste and texture.
What are the best substitutes for Locatelli cheese?
The best substitutes for Locatelli cheese are Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano, Asiago, and aged Gouda.
How can I use Locatelli cheese?
Locatelli cheese is best used as a grating cheese and is commonly used to top pasta dishes, salads, soups, and casseroles.
5 Best Locatelli Cheese Substitutes to Consider
- 1 – Pecorino Romano
- 2 – Parmesan Cheese
- 3 – Grana Padano Cheese
- 4 – Asiago Cheese
- 5 – Manchego Cheese
- Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
- Organize all of your ingredients.
- Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!