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TIP OF THE DAY: Stracciatella Cheese

The creamy filling in burrata cheese is called stracciatella (strah-chee-ah-TELL-ah).

Stracciatella consists of shreds of fresh mozzarella soaked in sweet cream.

Stracciatella is a soft, white, creamy buffalo (or sometimes, cow’s) milk cheese* made with straccia (little shreds) of mozzarella. It may be that most people buy burrata instead of mozzarella for the creamy stracciatella†.

It is now sold separately—just the creamy insides without the mozzarella. It provides new gustatory pleasures, as well illustrate below.
 
 
THE HISTORY OF STRACCIATELLA CHEESE

Stracciatella originated in southern Puglia. It was created around 1900 in the town of Andria by Lorenzo Bianchino, to use up mozzarella leftovers.

As the story goes, after a big snowstorm Bianchino was unable to transport his milk and cream to the village. At the time, butter was wrapped in spun cheese paste to keep it fresher, longer.

Bianchino tried the method with his cream, and decided to include some leftover scraps of cheese into the cream. The result was magic [source].

It was a local product, premium priced, and remained the delight of the townspeople for some thirty years.

In the 1950s, some of the local cheese factories began to produce burrata, and more people discovered its charms.

Only the last 15 years or so, thanks to more economical overnighting of refrigerated products, did we find it in New York City’s finest cheese shops. It was love at first bite.

And it is now made in the U.S., by dairies including BelGoioiso.
 
 
HOW TO SERVE STRACCIATELLA CHEESE

Soft and creamy, this fresh cheese pairs with both savory and sweet ingredients. It is becoming increasingly popular in numerous preparations:

  • Appetizer with sliced tomatoes and good bread.
  • Appetizer platter with cured meats, grapes, melon, peaches, roasted red pepper, tomatoes and a sprinkling of herbs, with a light white wine.
  • Bruschetta or crostini (the difference).
  • Canapés, with small spoonfuls atop artisan crackers; for dessert on chocolate wafer cookies with a raspberry garnish.
  • Dips and spreads.
  • Fruit salads (including citrus salad in the winter).
  • Grilled fruit.
  • Green salads and beet salads.
  • Ice cream: You can make a “double stracciatella” by combining the cheese with chocolate flakes (photo #4).
  • Pasta and pizza (photo #2)
  • Plain, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with crunchy sea salt and freshly-ground pepper and a crusty baguette or plain crostini; or sweet, with honey, jam or preserves, and/or fruit (photo #3).
  • Roasted vegetables.
  • Stracciatella Caprese, a Caprese salad with tomatoes and basil surrounding a mound of stracciatella.
  •  
    In general, serve stracciatella as you would burrata: with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of cracked pepper. (Mini-Tip: To drizzle olive oil precisely on a smaller surface, we use a medicine dropper.)
     
     
    WHERE TO FIND STRACCIATELLA

    BelGioioso sells it in 8-ounce and 16-ounce tubs. Here’s a store locator

    Online specialists like Murray’s Cheese also carry it.
     
     
    RECIPES

    Substitute stracciatella for the burrata in these recipes:

  • Breakfast & Lunch Crostini
  • Crostini With Burrata
  • Grilled Grapes With Burrata
  • Burrata & Stone Fruit: Breakfast Or Dessert
  • Plum, Burrata & Pepita Salad
  • Spring Burrata Salad With Watermelon Radish
  • Spring Burrata Salad Recipe With Asparagus
  • Spring Peas & Burrata Salad
  • Watermelon, Tomato & Burrata Salad
  •  
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHEESE

    > A GUIDE TO CHEESE CONDIMENTS

    > HOW TO TASTE CHEESE

    > HAVE A CHEESE TASTING PARTY

     


    [1] If you like rich and creamy food, you may want to eat stracciatella from the jar (photo © Murray’s Cheese).


    [2] Pappardelle pasta with stracciatella and cherry tomatoes. Here’s the recipe from Stefania’s Kitchenette (photo © Stefania’s Kitchenette).


    [3] Savory with EVOO, salt and pepper, or sweet with honey. Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, North Carolina serves it with a variety of salads. Here, it’s garnished with buckwheat honey, pink peppercorns, Tuscan olive oil, viola flower petals and crunchy sea salt (photo © M. Blake Pope | Kindred Restaurant).


    [4] How about some stracciatella gelato? Here’s a recipe from Love & Olive Oil. Here’s another recipe for Strawberry Stracciatella Gelato (photo © Love & Olive Oil).

     
     
    ________________

    *Stracciatella means “rag”; straccia are little shreds. The name is derived from the Italian word “strattore,” which means to stretch. Mozzarella and stracciatella are both made by stretching the curd. The process is called pasta filata, meaning spun paste (in English it is called stretched curd, pulled curd or plastic curd—the technique is also called plasticizing). The technique consists of kneading the fresh curd in hot water, which gives the cheese its fibrous structure. Pasta filata varieties are made beyond Italy, from the halloumi of Cyprus to the queso oaxaca of Mexico (here are many more examples). Some varieties are aged, such as provolone and scamorza.

    †In addition to stracciatella cheese, there are two other “stracciatellas” in Italy. The first is stracciatella soup, an ancient Roman dish broth with a broken egg passed through a fork (shredded). The result looks like Chinese egg drop soup. There is also stracciatella gelato, vanilla gelato with fine chocolate shavings, similar to the chocolate flakes used in some American ice creams.

      




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