Parmigiano made the leap from mere cheese to symbol of the Good Life in 1353, when Boccaccio wrote in the Decameron of a beautiful mountain of grated Parmigiano in the land of Bengodi. By the 1500s it began turning up regularly as an ingredient in recipes and Italian gastronomic tracts. Frequently grated over pasta, it also gives a piquant lift to salads.


INSALATA DICEMBRINA
4 stalks celery
3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 small head of radicchio
1 small head of curly endive
3 pears
12 walnuts
lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper
Clean and dry the radicchio and the endive. Tear the leaves into small pieces. Add thinly sliced celery and the sliced pears, the walnuts and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cut into very thin pieces. Mix the juice of one lemon, some olive oil and a pinch of salt until it forms an emulsion. Add the dressing to the salad and toss.

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