We’re kicking off our new cheese series with a squidgy slice of a real all rounder. It’s one of the healthiest cheeses out there and also happens to be the star of some of our favourite recipes. Say ciao to mozzarella!
A curd cheese from the Campania region of Italy (Naples, Pompeii – that area), it’s traditionally made from water buffalo milk and can also be made with sheep and goats’ milk. But unless you’re paying top dollar, it’s likely to come from cows.
Unlike Stilton and Brie, it’s not an aged cheese so it can be eaten as soon as it’s made. Which is a good job if you ever fancied making mozzarella at home.
As well as the usual the supermarket type, there are other varieties of mozzarella you should know about, like smoked and the amazing sounding scamorza.
Storing and gorging
Fresh mozzarella comes swimming in a pouch of water or whey. You should keep it that whey (sorry) until you’re ready to use it as it has a fairly short shelf life (3-4 days) compared with blocks of vacuum packed mozzarella, which can last for around 3 weeks.
This mild creamy cheese can be eaten straight from the packet as it comes, in a tasty salad, say. Or you can grill it, bake it or fry it until gooey in all sorts of dishes – it’s your call.
Mozzarella is a very moist cheese which is great for creating that oozy, stringy loveliness when cooked but for pizza dough, not so much. Avoid a soggy mess with these quick fixes.
Not in the mood for a full on baked cheese dish? No problem. Enjoy the lighter side of this creamy cheese with a mozzarella and winter fruit salad or pair it with sliced tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar for fresher than fresh flavours.
Salads aside, there are many hot ways of tucking into a lighter mozzarella dish. These mozzarella and sundried tomato samosas make an awesome snack or starter. But our absolute favourite has to be mozzarella and red pesto arancini – cheesy food heaven!
So, who’s craving pizza? Thought so. Our work is done.