A key ingredient in tiramisu and zabaglione, mascarpone is velvety soft, slightly acidic, and expensive. Mascarpone is milky-white in color and is easy to spread. It is used in various Lombardy dishes, and is considered a specialty in the region. Mascarpone originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, southwest of Milan, probably in the late 16th or early 17th century.
The name more than likely is derived from mascarpa, an unrelated milk product made from the whey of stracchino (a young, barely aged cheese), or from mascarpia, a word in the local dialect for ricotta. Others claims the name comes from the Spanish mas que bueno, "better than good." Ricotta, unlike mascarpone, is also made from whey.
Usually sold fresh in tubs, It is one of the main ingredients in the modern Italian dessert known as tiramisu, and is sometimes used instead of butter or Parmesan cheese to thicken and enrich risotto. Mascarpone is also used to produce Italian cheesecakes. It's a highly perishable cheese meant to be consumed as soon as possible after it is made.
- Mix with or as a topping for fruits or berries.
- Whipped Cream Substitute, use with a drizzle of honey over ice cream or pie.
- Spread on toast with a sprinkle or sea salt or cinnamon/sugar and a drizzle of honey.
- Add a dollop on the side of oven roasted, caramelized root vegetables.
- Use a sauce for making a White Pizza.
- Place a dollop into butternut squash soup along with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce.
- Add to your tomato sauce to make a richer, creamier pasta sauce.
- Spread some on toast with Nutella.
- Mascarpone definitely works on top of a baked potato.
Substitute: Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup whipping cream.
Mascarpone is made from two ingredients... whole cream and citric or tartaric acid (to thicken the cream).
Click HERE to see how to make your own.
Click HERE for Ciao Italia's Italian Cheesecake recipe.