There are so many favorite types of Italian cheese that I do not know where to start. We are all familiar with RICOTTA CHEESE; it is so versatile to use in anything from delicious lasagna to luscious desserts. There are so many ricotta cheese recipes that it pays to learn how to make ricotta cheese if you favor wonderful Italian recipes.
Although we say ricotta “cheese”, it is not really a cheese at all; it is still classified as one of the types of Italian cheese. It is really a byproduct of cheese making. People of Italy have been using this smooth creamy product for decades in many delicious dishes. There are many types of Ricotta other than the familiar smooth creamy type; some baked until brown and crusty and others fermented causing a strong smell. It can be made with cow’s milk or goat milk. For me, I prefer our familiar type with the creamy smooth texture and mild delicious flavor and I like it made both with cow’s milk or goat’s milk. If you like this as I do, it is easy to learn how to make ricotta cheese at home.
HOW TO MAKE RICOTTA CHEESE
This is one of the Ricotta cheese recipes which call for cow’s milk. It is delicious for dessert recipe, pasta recipes or most Italian recipes.
Combine milk, whipping cream, sugar and salt in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil stirring often.
Remove from heat, add vinegar and blend well; let stand 10 minutes.
Line a colander in sink with 4 layers of cheesecloth; pour mixture into lined colander, let drain and discard liquid.
Set colander in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours.
Spoon cheese into bowl and discard liquid; cover and store in refrigerator.
One of the most popular types of Italian cheese is used in almost all pizza recipes. I, for sure, would not want to give up my MOZZARELLA CHEESE recipes. Can you imagine pizza recipes without mozzarella cheese? This semi soft cheese is an Italian tradition. It is white in color and high in moisture content and so delicious when eaten fresh. The shredded type that can be purchased in the grocery is lower in moisture and has a longer shelf life. (Be careful of added chemicals in the shredded type).
MOZZARELLA CHEESE RECIPE
Mozzarella cheese recipes are quick and easy to make; they yield a lot of cheese from the milk used compared to other cheeses.
How to make mozzarella cheese
Dissolve citric acid powder in ¼ cup cool water; combine and blend with milk in a large stainless steel kettle.
Heat mixture to 88F degrees. (Use thermometer)
Dilute rennet in the ¼ cup cold water; stir and blend rennet in the milk mixture and let set for 15 minutes to coagulate.
Cut curds into ½ inch cubes with a knife; let curds set for 5 minutes.
Place curds over low heat and stir gently to keep curds separated; the curds will shrink some as the whey flows out...
Slowly heat about 15 minutes or until the curds heat to temperature of 108F degrees.
Turn off heat and continue to gently stir for 20 minutes.
Lift the curds into a colander and drain off excess whey for about 15 minutes.
Cut curds into 1 inch strips and layer in crisscross fashion in bowl.
Mix salt in 1 galloon cold water; heat to 170F degrees.
Pour hot salt water over the curds to cover.
Using a wooden spoon begin stretching the curds (about 10 minutes) like you are pulling taffy; curds will become stringy and look shiny.
Place cheese on board and knead as you would bread, shaping it into a ball.
Dip cheese ball in cold water until firm.
Dry off cheese ball with paper towels and use or store in refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap.
PROVOLONE CHEESE is another one of my types of Italian cheese. This is my choice on all Italian sub sandwiches. Provolone cheese came from the southern region of Italy but is now largely produced in Northern Italy. The flavor of this semi hard cheese ranges from very mild to a strong aged cheese; as in most cheese, I prefer the mild flavored ones.
CHICKEN PROVOLONE RECIPE
Preheat broiler in oven.
Sprinkle chicken breast with salt and pepper; coat with flour.
Cook breast in hot oil in a large skillet on both sides until brown and done.
As you finish cooking the chicken, place chicken breast in a lightly greased 9 X 13 inch baking pan; cover to keep warm.
When all chicken has been cooked, add wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping down the sides of skillet.
Add mushrooms to the skillet and cook about 3 minutes; pour mixture over chicken.
Top each chicken breast with provolone cheese; place under broiler for a couple minutes until cheese is melted.
Another one of the types of Italian cheese which is very common cheese that most of us have on hand in our homes is PARMESAN; if we don’t have it fresh, most of us have a can of the dried in our kitchen. It is very versatile to use in many Italian recipes or sprinkled over top of pasta dishes or salads. This harder cheese is also lower in calories (when eaten alone!) because of its lower fat content. With its flavor being a little stronger, it adds a lot of taste to dishes like eggplant Parmesan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice eggplant ¼ inch thick.
Dip into the beaten egg and then the bread crumbs.
Brown on both sides in hot olive oil.
Make one layer eggplant in a casserole dish.
Top eggplant with Parmesan cheese, oregano, Mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
Repeat layers until all ingredients are used up.
Top the last layer with sauce and Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes.
The following are some more of the types of Italian cheese;
MASCARPONE CHEESE is also a favorite of mine; great for desserts! This cheese is extra creamy and white; especially great in tiramisu or is very spreadable for appetizers. It originated in the southwest region of Italy
ASIAGO CHEESE is one of the types of Italian Cheese which is made from cow’s milk and is aged to different degrees resulting in different strengths in taste. This cheese adds flavor to pasta dishes, soups and pizza; it can also be served as appetizer or snack with crackers or fruit.
GORGONZOLA CHEESE is primarily produced today in the regions of Italy. This cheese is recognizable as a blue veined Italian cheese and is buttery and quite salty. It can be firm or crumbly. Its unique flavor adds to dishes like pizza and penne pastas when combined with other cheeses.
FONTINA CHEESE is one of the types of Italian cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk only. Depending on how long it is aged it could be mild to pungent in flavor and semi soft to firm in texture. It has a nutty flavor and melts well so is very good cheese for fondue recipes.