Mascarpone is a stunningly simple cheese. With a mild taste and supreme spreadability, mascarpone can add a rich creaminess to any sweet or savory dish. Perhaps because the options are so limitless, it’s often difficult to know what exactly you should do with the fresh cheese.
Let’s start at the beginning. Where did mascarpone originate? The Daily Meal explains:
[Mascarpone] originated in the region of Lombardia, in the central north of Italy, in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, just southwest of Milan. There are several theories as to the origin of the name; some claim it comes from the regional dialect name for ricotta, others claim it comes from the Spanish phrase mas que bueno (more than good), dating from the Spanish occupation.
Mascarpone begins as cream, coagulated with acid (even something as mild as lemon juice will do the trick) until it forms a thick, dollopy spread. The process is so fast—only 10 minutes—and oh-so-simple, it’s almost a crime not to make your own.
Once you’ve bought or DIY’d your mascarpone, what do you do with it? The classic use is in tiramisu, but we suggest putting a twist on the traditional layered custard and opting for a tiramisu cheesecake instead. Or do as The Daily Meal suggest and make crema di mascarpone con rabarbaro e fragole (that’s mascarpone cream with rhubarb and strawberries, for you non-Italian speakers). Have a saltier craving? Try mascarpone with spaghetti, meyer lemon, spinach, and hazelnuts, and wash it down with an expertly paired fruit beer.