Stracciatella is a traditional Italian cheese made from pulled mozzarella curds mixed with fresh cream. This cheese is the inside of the burrata – if you've ever cut into a fresh burrata, the gooey interior that spilled out was stracciatella. As stracciatella is more liquid than solid, spooning it out of the container is usually the best method.
Stracciatella originated in Andria, Apulia, where mozzarella was traditionally shaped into a knot instead of a ball. Unsold knots would firm up considerably after a day on the shelf, so they were undone and peeled apart into strings, which were then soaked in heavy cream. At some point, an anonymous genius decided to tuck that cheese into a sheet of mozzarella, forming the dumpling-like pouch known as burrata.
Burrata gets all the attention, but here's the truth: stracciatella is the star. You love burrata because of what's on the inside. In fact, the only difference between stracciatella and burrata is the mozzarella's thin layer, which doesn't add much to the dish.
The trick is to find stracciatella made with real cultured cheese. Today, many mozzarella-makers use acid to coagulate milk, skipping the traditional step of adding bacteria and allowing it to culture for hours. Let’s not mislead you: stracciatella made from non-cultured mozzarella tastes fine but is a little basic – it’s just simple milk and cream. But in versions made from cultured mozzarella, the cheese's living microorganisms digest the lactose in the cream, causing a fermentation process that thickens the cream as the strings become tender. From a sweet, mild mixture of al dente shreds, it evolves into a thick, luscious paste with a more robust flavour and a bit of umami.
How it is made
Stracciatella is made from fresh mozzarella curds – the same curds used to make mozzarella balls. The curds are soaked in hot water to make them pliable. Then they are stretched into long ropes and thinner strands. The strands are cut into small pieces and placed in a container of cream. The curds and cream are stirred together and let sit until most of the cream is absorbed.
A stracciatella cheese's taste is similar to that of mozzarella cheese, mild and a little sour and acidic. Since it's made with cream, stracciatella tastes incredibly rich.
The texture is silky, buttery, and creamy.
How to eat stracciatella
Stracciatella is very versatile, and due to its mild flavour, it pairs well with many foods.
For a flavorful bruschetta, spread this fresh cheese on toast, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stracciatella pairs wonderfully with fresh pasta. Try a dollop on spaghetti bolognese or gnocchi with marinara sauce.
You can add stracciatella to a tomato sauce and prosciutto pizza straight from the oven to take your pizza night to the next level.
With roasted veggies. Served with stracciatella, roasted root vegetables make for an easy appetiser. For the perfect combination of salty and sweet, glaze the vegetables with honey or balsamic vinegar.
With tomatoes. If you love caprese salad, try replacing the mozzarella with fresh stracciatella. Acidic tomatoes and balsamic vinegar pair well with the rich, creamy cheese. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs.
Why Waste? - the video series that turns kitchen waste into stunning, Michelin-star-worthy food - is back. This episode is dedicated to stale bread, with recipes from Sat Bains and Dominque Crenn. Don't miss it.
Why Waste? - the Fine Dining Lovers series turning food waste into taste - is back for a second season. This time, Massimo Bottura is joined by Dominique Crenn and Cesar Troisgros to show us how to use overripe fruits. Take a look.
Arguably one of Italy's most successful exports and store cupboard staples, pesto is easy to make at home and lends itself well to variations on a theme. Here are five homemade pesto sauce recipes using classic basil, arugula, kale, cilantro and sun-dried tomatoes.