I know nothing can *really* match the flavor of a good Parmiggiano Reggiano, but I'm currently doing research to do 365 days as a locavore starting sometime next year. I make a lot of various pestos, and I'm trying to figure out what to use instead of Parmesan since nobody around here makes it. I'm on the hunt for local creameries (for reference I live in the Greensboro, NC area. I haven't decided my radius yet, but it'll be probably be 100 miles with some lee-way for specialty items like certain cheeses) that make harder cheeses, but so far all the creameries I can find stop at semi-firm. There's no shortage of softer cheeses around here!
I thought about using some extra cold fresh mozzarella with some added salt maybe? Or even a few crumbles queso fresco? I wonder if it'd be better to just leave the parm *out* if I can only find the good stuff from Italy (oh, woe is me that I only have access to the best quality!). How much of a difference do you think that would make?