Mascarpone cheese is a rich, creamy cow’s milk cheese that is somewhere between butter and cream cheese in terms of both texture and flavor. It is smoother than cream cheese, but thicker and much less “melty” than butter. It has a very delicate, subtle flavor, more like butter than cream cheese. The cheese originally comes from Italy and is popular in many Italian dishes, including tiramisu and cheesecake. It is also a great addition to some pasta dishes – especially filled or baked pasta dishes, like lasagna and ravioli – as it adds a richness that other cheese can’t quite match.
Even though the cheese is from Italy, it is made in many different parts of the world and is widely available in most markets. To use it simply, you can spread it on a bagel or toast as-is, but it’s subtle flavor can actually be a bit boring with this application. It’s better to blend in some fruit, jam, or even some savory flavors to make a really interesting spread, taking advantage of the blank canvas of the cheese to add flavor so that you can really appreciate its creamy texture.