Although mascarpone cheese is most associated with tiramisu, the versatile creamy treat can be deployed in many other ways to give your meals and desserts a touch of sweetness and class. Mascarpone is often compared to cream cheese, but the Italian version of cream cheese is made with more milk fat – always whole milk. This makes it creamier and sweeter.
Let’s get to know this northern Italian staple and learn three easy ways to deploy it in your kitchen!
Mascarpone is an easy way to add frosting to cakes and cupcakes, but it is also great to add cream to soup, replace cream in pasta, or even combined with fresh herbs to make dip. It makes a tasty whipped cream that is also very stable compared to traditional whipped cream (just add heavy cream and powdered sugar to try this yourself). Mascarpone also makes a very silky addition to cheesecake recipes, where you can substitute it for cream cheese.
Mascarpone should be warmed to room temperature for most dishes. American-made mascarpone lasts for about 90 days from the time it is manufactured; Italian mascarpone about 45 days after it is opened.
Mascarpone is made from cow’s milk. It is a vegetarian cheese because it does not have any animal derived rennet added to its ingredients. It originated in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, particularly in Abbiategrasso and Lodi. The most common producers of marscapone cheese are BelGioioso, Galbani, Cello, and Gelmini. It costs around $8.00 for a 16-ounce package.
You can make your own mascarpone by heading up heavy cream and adding something acidic, such as cream of tartar. The finished product must be strained through cheesecloth to remove excess whey.
Here are three ways you can enjoy mascarpone!
Peaches with Mascarpone
Are you hip to the flavor of grilled peaches? If not, now is a great time to start. Grilling peaches produces a delicious, caramelized flavor that brings out the best in the fruit. An easy dessert trick this summer is to grill the peaches with marscapone cheese.
2 large ripe fresh peaches (halve them and remove pits)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 teaspoons of maple syrup (divided)
3 tablespoons of vanilla Greek Yogurt (whole milk, or 2%)
1 tablespoon *mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon mint leaves
*Keep in mind that marscapone is easier to work with if you use it at room temperature
Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high (at least 400 degrees and up to 450).
Brush the peach halves with olive oil on both sides and then place them on the grill, cut sides down. Leave sit for around 1-2 minutes, and then flip. Brush the teaspoon of maple syrup on the cut side and grill for another minute, checking to make sure peaches are tender.
In bowl, stir mascarpone, yogurt, and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup.
When peaches are ready, top them with the mascarpone/yogurt mix and top with the fresh mint leaves.
Berry and Mascarpone Salad
Summer brings us the best in fruit and berries, so why not make a fun salad with berries and a side of marscapone? It’s a great way to have an indulgence that is perfect for the summer heat.
1 lb strawberries, chopped
6 oz. raspberries
6 oz. blueberries
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes (halved)
1/2 cup of mascarpone (softened at room temperature)
1/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1.For the mascarpone dressing, whisk together mascarpone, yogurt, honey and the other ingredients.
Fold together until smooth. If you want a slightly tangier taste, add lemon.
Mix the berries together in a large bowl, and then mix in the dressing.
Shrimp Risotto with Mascarpone Cheese
Who said mascarpone had to be reserved for dessert? You can make this beautiful entree with shrimp that will impress your guests.
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. shrimp (remove shells and heads and cut into pieces)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
⅔ cup dry white wine, divided
1 medium carrot, halved crosswise
1 celery stalk, halved crosswise
6 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
2 large onions, peeled and halved
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1½ cups arborio rice
Dash of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
6 oz. mascarpone
2 Tablespoons of chives, thin sliced
First, the stock:
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high and add shells and shrimp heads for about 5 minutes. Press down on the shrimp heads to release juices. Add in tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add ⅓ cup of white wine and cook for about one minute. Add ⅓ cup of wine, deglazing the pan, until evaporated (around 3 minutes). Add celery, carrot, thyme, peppercorns, two onion halves and 3 garlic cloves. Add 8 cups of water and some salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Then let stock simmer for around 60 minutes.
Next, chop the other two garlic cloves and the rest of the onion. Strain the stock over a mesh sieve into a saucepan (throw out heads and shells). Season with ½ teaspoon of salt.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add on and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir often until grains are translucent, about 3 additional minutes.
Then stir in rest of win (⅓ cup) and cook until almost evaporated. Ladle in 1 cup of the stock, stirring until absorbed. Repeat the process with the rest of tohe stock, waiting until the water is absorbed each time. This should take approximately 25 minutes.
Season risotto with pepper and a dash of salt and stir in shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes, careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and grate lemon zest over risotto. Sirt in marscapone cheese and butter.