Mascarpone is the cream cheese par excellence: the perfect balance of consistency, sweetness and flavor make it an ingredient that knows no dissent. In simpler words: everyone likes it.
It is a must for the preparation of the cream for the classic “tiramisù” cake, but it is also used to give creaminess to many italian recipes such as risotto with vegetables or pasta.
Mascarpone is a typical specialty of the Lombardy Region in the North of Italy: its production is documented in the 12th century. Today it is widespread throughout the Italian Peninsula and also exported abroad.
When and how the mascarpone production started is not known, most probably it is a way to use the cream of milk, a typical residue of the processing of many dairy products. The name itself would bear witness to it: originally it had to be "masquerade", which meant "cream of milk" in the Lombard dialect.
As often happens with the typical products that boast ancient origins there are those who support another version for the origin of the name: it seems that the mascarpone term represents the Italian form of the Spanish expression "màs que bueno", ie "more delicious". According to tradition this was the expression of appreciation of a high Spanish dignitary when he tasted mascarpone for the first time.
As already written, mascarpone is prepared starting from the milk cream obtained by the centrifugation of milk. The milk cream is heated in a waterbath at 90°C. The addition of citric acid starts the formation of the curd which is then left to rest for 8-12 hours in a cool place. After this period the curd is collected with a linen the operation allows the separation from the whey. The curd is then poured into special forms which are placed in a cold room at a temperature of 4°C for 18 hours.
At this point the mascarpone is ready for packaging and the sale.
Being a food derived from the cream of milk it is rich in fat and even in calories. Also the cholesterol intake is to be monitored: a 100g portion already contains one third of the maximum recommended daily amount for this fat.
More than a cheese it is considered a "comfort food" or an ingredient to be used in moderation to obtain the desired creaminess but without exceeding. These considerations must be useful for conscious consumption: mascarpone finds its place in a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
How to use
"To make the tiramisù cake" would immediately say every Italian! But it is also a useful ingredient to give creaminess to the pasta sauce. In the this case one teaspoon per serving is enough to obtain a pleasant result. Mascarpone is also excellent in risotto with pumpkin and nettles.
- Mascarpone Artisan Lombardy Region. http://www.ersaf.lombardia.it/servizi/buonalombardia/Prodotti_fase03.aspx?lang=1&ID=96 (access on 30.08.2018)
- Article 32 of the R.D.L. 15/10/25
- Mascarpone cheese. Daniela Peli, Francesca Ferrari
Quado 'Editrice Srl, January 15, 2015 - 96 pages
- Italian cheeses: History, preparation techniques, pairings and tasting Piero Maffeis HOEPLI EDITORE - 192 pages
- Mascarpone cheese. CREA food composition tables
Research Center for Food and Nutrition http://nut.entecra.it/646/tabelle_di_composizione_degli_alimenti.html?idalimento=164800&quant=100 (access on 30.08.2018)