Pecorino Romano

Pencil Icon

Pecorino Romano is a rennet-coagulated cheese made with ewe’s milk and matured for five to eight months (or longer), depending on whether it is intended for table or grating use. This hard cheese has a white interior and a pale yellow to brown or black exterior and has been protected by a DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) since 1996.

Cheese Characteristics

Pecorino Romano is produced in wheels weighing between 49–71 pounds (22–32 kilograms), standing 12–13 inches (30–33 centimeters) high, and measuring 11–12 inches (28–32 centimeters) wide. The cheese has a compact paste that crumbles nicely and features bright, tangy notes that balance sheepy sweetness with salinity. The cheese's texture is hard and granular, making it ideal for grating over pasta dishes, meat sauces, and vegetables.


Pecorino Romano has ancient roots, with references to similar cheeses dating back to Roman times. Bronze cheese graters from the first millennium b.c.e. suggest its early consumption. Virgil and Marcus Terentius Varro, writing in the first century b.c.e., mentioned the cheese as a basic ration for Roman soldiers, valued for its durability, nutritional content, and ability to provide energy and endurance on long marches.

Flavor Profile

Pecorino Romano is often compared to Parmigiano Reggiano. It has a higher salinity and a sharp flavor, making it excellent for cooking. The cheese can exhibit different flavor profiles depending on the milking season, with unique sweet and salty aspects reflecting the lactation and grazing conditions of the ewes.

Production Areas

Today, Pecorino Romano is produced primarily in the province of Lazio, Sardinia, and Grosseto in Tuscany. Although its traditional production area is Rome, much of the cheese now comes from these other regions, using the same traditional recipe.

Production Process

Pecorino Romano is made from the milk of sheep raised on natural pastures in its designated production areas. The milk is coagulated using lamb rennet paste, and the curd is broken into small granules before being cooked at 45-48°C. The cheese is then marked and salted, either dry or in brine. After aging for at least five months, it can be marketed as a table cheese, and after eight months, it is typically used for grating.


Pecorino Romano is a staple in many Italian dishes, especially those from Rome and Lazio, such as bucatini all'amatriciana, spaghetti alla carbonara, pasta alla gricia, and spaghetti alla cacio e pepe. It is also enjoyed with fresh vegetables and fruit or as part of a cheese platter.

Important Facts

Country of Origin Italy
Specific Origin Lazio, Sardinia, Grosseto
Certification DOP (1996)
Milk Type Ewe's milk
Fat Content ~36%
Rind Pale yellow to brown or black
Texture Hard
Flavor Sharp, salty
Colors White interior, pale yellow to brown/black rind
Forms Wheels, 49–71 lbs, 12–13" high, 11–12" wide
Age 5–8 months or longer
Rennet Type Rennet

Best Foods to Serve with Pecorino Romano Cheese

Recommended Pairings for Pecorino Romano Cheese

Other Recommended Foods for Pecorino Romano Cheese

Random Icon