Here are the winners of the Parmigiano Reggiano Masterpiece Recipe Contest!

As part of our annual celebration of Parmigiano Reggiano Day on October 27, we invited people who love Parmigiano Reggiano to share their favorite recipes across four categories for a chance to win an exclusive dinner prepared by our US Brand Ambassador, celebrated Chef Michele Casadei Massari.

The winners in each category were selected by a panel of
talented and respected chefs from varied backgrounds.

We would like to thank all the people who participated in the Parmigiano Reggiano Masterpiece Recipe Contest. Our contestants submitted original recipes in four different categories and asked their friends to vote in order to become the “finalists” that would be reviewed by our panel of judges. Each of the four judges was assigned a category and selected the Category Winners from the list of finalists.

Below are the Category Winners, and the comments from each of the Judges.


Chef Silvia Barban

Well done! This recipe is simple, quick and comforting – a nice little treat for just one person – and also a great dish to serve for a dinner with friends. As a suggestion, I would consider using more cooking water and cheese to emulsify better – and I would keep in the water it a little less time (3 min less), making sure to finish it in the sauce and keeping it al dente. I would also use a finer zester for the lemon, and I would confit the garlic to ensure that it does not taste burned or too raw. Lastly, I would suggest a slightly less generous serving and using a ladle and twister to center the pasta in a smaller mound on the dish, giving it a more interesting and appealing shape.


Chef Michele Casadei Massari

I love that our contestant realized that freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano makes all the difference when it comes to rich taste. Also, I liked the way that they kept this toast very simple. However, I would suggest playing a bit with the bread slicing to make the presentation a bit more interesting. Also, I suggest using an aromatized mayonnaise with garlic-infused oil to enhance the depth of the flavor while eliminating one ingredient, making the prep even easier.


Chef Edvina Sarukhanyan

I like the way that Nina took elements from Italian and Polish cuisine to create an easy-to-make dish that combines the flavors of each culture. To enhance the presentation, I suggest using a pasta bowl as opposed to a flat plate. This will help ensure that the haluski falls together and will help keep the temperature hot while enjoying. Also it would look better served in a contrasting color plate, black for instance, to pop the dish more. Garnish with few beautiful sage leaves. Lastly, I would recommend topping with caramelized shallots, fresh black pepper, extra lemon zest, finely chopped sage (instead of
parsley) and add some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top to elevate the flavors.


Chef Russell Jackson

I used to do a version of it at “Russell’s”, my restaurant in Los Angeles in the 90’s. This is a simple recipe that is honest and satisfying – and that’s why I love it. The spinach, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms complement nicely the rich taste of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. And the pine nuts add a nice crunchy texture. For a more appetizing presentation I would consider browning the chicken a little more than shown in the picture, and serving the chicken breasts sliced at an angle to show off the filling. Note, you can pre roll these, roll them in plastic wrap tightly (chill for an hour), then poach them till just done (internal temp of 125-135 degrees), and then sear them in olive oil and whole butter to crust the outside. Also, I suggest sprinkling a few pine nuts and raisins on top as a finishing touch, along with a little shaved Parmigiano Reggiano right before serving. Also, you may want to consider plating it with some fresh baby spinach and pine nuts and currants finished with a lite Italian vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, to add a touch of color, texture and structure to the dish.

Special congratulations to the Grand Prize Winner:
Nina Mulè Lyons

Nina Mulè Lyons today, and at right in her mom’s kitchen, when she was about 10 years old.

Nina Mulè Lyons grew up in Pittsburg, PA, in a family that valued Italian traditions, eating simple food made with fresh and authentic ingredients in recipes passed down from one generation to the next. She learned to cook by helping her mom in the kitchen, starting “as soon as she could reach the stove”.

Nina can trace her ancestry 300 years back to Altavilla Milicia, a small village in Sicily, the Italian island just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” Traveling there often to visit her Italian family, she found that the food made by her cousins in Sicily was much the same as the dishes made by her mother and her Grandmother in Pittsburg.

In 2018 and 2019 Nina spent time in Italy studying mosaics in Ravenna, a city in the Emilia Romagna region. During those trips she also spent some time in Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna, which is considered by many to be Italy’s ultimate food destination. It is here that she fell in love with Parmigiano Reggiano. Her cooking blends Northern and Southern Italian cuisine – although sometimes she likes to add a twist of her own – as she did with the Passatelli Haluski.

“I am incredibly excited that the Passatelli Haluski recipe was singled out as the Grand Prize Winner. All I can say is WOW!”

Nina Mulè Lyons

We asked Nina what inspired her to enter the Grand Prize winning recipe. Here’s what she said:

“There have been lots of Polish people living in the Pittsburgh area since the mid 1800’s, and I have many friends of Polish descent. So, as an Italian girl living in Pittsburgh I had no choice but to make a dish that included both the Italian and Polish cultures. I combined the idea of Passatelli (which I discovered in Bologna) with Haluski (essentially a dish with cabbage and onions with noodles, that is also known as Polish pasta). The star of this recipe is Parmigiano Reggiano cheese of course, because it gives the dish its distinctive taste and rich aroma, and is able to comfortably travel across both cultures (as well as many more).”

A few words from Chef Michele Casadei Massari

Chef Michele Casadei Massari, the US Brand Ambasador for Parmigiano Reggiano, grew up in Bologna and loves a good “Passatelli in Brodo” or “Passatelli Soup” – which is Bologna’s signature dish. So, the fact the he chose the Passatelli Halusk recipe as his overall favorite in the Masterpiece Recipe Contest was not terribly surprising. Also, Chef Michele is constantly exploring ways to elevate the eating experience by using Parmigiano Reggiano in diverse cuisines – which is another reason he gravitated towards this dish as the Grand Prize Award recipient.

Here’s a direct quote from Chef Michele: “I applaud Nina for introducing a clever and simple twist on a Polish recipe, blending innovation with tradition and bringing two cultures together. I love how she used Parmigiano Reggiano with the other ingredients, in a dish that crosses boundaries and explores new territories. I can’t wait to meet Nina in person so we can talk about our favorite parts of Bologna, and I look forward to creating an unforgettable dining experience for her at Lucciola, my restaurant in New York.”