Stretchy, silky and creamy, there’s no end to the delightful ways meals can be uplifted by mozzarella and its cheesy relations
Delicate, rich and creamy, mozzarella (and its close relations, burrata, bocconcini and stracciatella) is the perfect ingredient to take meals to new heights. Whether melted over ciabatta, daintily dotted in pasta or simply served whole, it guarantees a simple, elegant meal to impress.
baby buffalo mozzarella with fennel puree, spicy salami and olives 50g unsalted butter, chopped 2 small fennel, trimmed and chopped, fronds reserved
and finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, sliced ¹⁄³ cup (80ml) milk sea salt and cracked black pepper 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 400g baby buffalo mozzarella+ 100g thinly sliced spicy salami chilli flakes, to serve 1 cup (120g) green olives Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the milk and salt and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Using a handheld blender, blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Place the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Spoon the fennel puree onto 4 plates. Top with the mozzarella, salami, chilli, vinaigrette and reserved fennel fronds. Serve with the olives. SERVES 4. + We used a knotted baby buffalo mozzarella called nodini, which is available from delicatessens. If unavailable, you can use baby mozzarella. roasted garlic, pine nut and bocconcini spinach linguine 2 bulbs garlic 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes ½ cup (15g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve cracked black pepper 300g fresh spinach linguine ½ cup chervil leaves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, chopped 400g buffalo bocconcini+ Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the garlic, oil and salt in aluminium foil and enclose. Place on an oven tray and cook for 30 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and place in a medium bowl. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup (125ml) of the cooking water. Place the garlic mixture, pasta and reserved cooking water in a large bowl. Add the chervil, lemon juice, pine nuts and bocconcini and toss to combine. Sprinkle with extra parmesan to serve. SERVES 4. + Buffalo bocconcini is available from delicatessens. If unavailable, you can use regular bocconcini.
tarragon-crumbed burrata, tomatoes and basil oil 1 cup (70g) panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon sea salt and cracked black pepper 1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour 2 eggs, lightly beaten 4 x 100g burrata, patted dry vegetable oil, for deep-frying 2 ox heart tomatoes+, sliced micro (baby) basil leaves, to serve basil oil 2 cups basil leaves 1 cup (250ml) boiling water ¾ cup (180ml) light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes Place the breadcrumbs, tarragon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Place the flour and egg in 2 separate medium bowls. Dip 1 burrata in the flour and then in the egg. Dip again in the flour and egg. Dip in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Repeat with the remaining burrata. Set aside in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm.
To make the basil oil, place the basil in a large heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Squeeze out the excess water and place the basil in a jug. Add the oil and salt and, using a hand-held blender, blend until the basil is finely chopped. Set aside.
Half-fill a medium saucepan with the vegetable oil and place over medium heat until it reaches 180°C (350°F) on a deep-frying thermometer. Cook the burrata, in batches, for 2 minutes or until golden. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Spoon the basil oil onto 4 plates. Top with the tomato, burrata, micro basil, salt and pepper to serve. SERVES 4. + You can find ox heart tomatoes in farmers markets and greengrocers. If unavailable, you can use any heirloom tomatoes. mozzarella and truffle pizza 2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar ¾ cup (180ml) lukewarm water 1½ teaspoons dried yeast 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes 2¼ cups (335g) 00 flour, plus extra for dusting 200g buffalo mozzarella, torn cracked black pepper, to serve thinly sliced fresh truffle+ (optional), to serve Place the sugar, water and yeast in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside for 5–10 minutes or until foamy.
Place the oil, salt and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached. Add the yeast mixture and beat for 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 240°C (475°F). Place 2 x 20cm round pizza trays in the oven for 5–10 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 balls and, on a lightly floured sheet of non-stick baking paper, roll out each one to a 30cm round. Top with the mozzarella and drizzle with the extra oil. Carefully slide the pizza bases onto the hot trays. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden and cheese is bubbling. Top with pepper and truffle (if using) to serve. MAKES 2. + You can find fresh truffle in specialty delicatessens and farmers markets. If unavailable, you can use truffle oil.
orange and crispy caper marinated mozzarella 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup (50g) baby capers, patted dry ¼ cup (60ml) orange juice 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 clove garlic, bruised 1 tablespoon honey sea salt flakes 4 small red chillies, halved 2 oranges, quartered 2 x 250g buffalo mozzarella 1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns 4 sprigs Greek basil Heat the oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Add the capers and cook for 2 minutes or until crispy. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Carefully add the orange juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, honey and salt to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly reduced. Pour into a medium bowl, add the chilli and orange and mix to combine. Set aside to cool.
Add the mozzarella, peppercorns and crispy capers and toss to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate. Top with the basil sprigs to serve. SERVES 4. Note: We served this as a canapé with cured meats and bread. stracciatella with chilli oil and anchovy crumb 1 x 50g can anchovies, drained 250g stracciatella+ 100g nasturtium leaves (optional), to serve bread, to serve chilli oil ½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup (10g) dried chillies, chopped 3 strips lemon rind 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the anchovies on a small lightly greased oven tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook for 5 minutes or until dry and crumbly. Set aside.
To make the chilli oil, place the oil, chilli and lemon rind in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for 4–6 minutes or until bubbling. Place the garlic and vinegar in a medium heatproof bowl and pour over the oil.
Spoon the stracciatella into a bowl. Drizzle with the chilli oil and sprinkle with the anchovy crumb. Top with the nasturtium leaves (if using) and serve with the bread. SERVES 4. + Stracciatella is sold in tubs and is available from delicatessens. If unavailable, you can use 250g burrata, chopped. smoked mozzarella and olive sandwich 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes 2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar 1 green olive ciabatta loaf+ 1 clove garlic, halved 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 x 125g smoked mozzarella++, sliced Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the fennel seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle until fine. Place in a small bowl. Add the salt and sugar and mix to combine. Set aside.
Cut the bread in half horizontally and rub the cut sides with the garlic. Place the bread, cut-side up, on an oven tray. Brush with the oil and cook for 6 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle both halves with the fennel sugar and top one half with the mozzarella. Sandwich together and cook for 8 minutes or until golden and cheese is melted. Cut into slices to serve. SERVES 4–6. + You can find green olive ciabatta in bakeries and some supermarkets. If unavailable, use plain ciabatta. ++ Smoked mozzarella is available from delicatessens.