I had asked on my Facebook page for some ideas on how to use an unopened tub of mascarpone cheese. OK, I admit it: I was intimidated simply because it was mascarpone cheese. In other words, this was the fancy ingredient that puts the “tira” in Tiramisu. I had no idea what to even consider making with it other than that and a now-forgotten recipe that I had bought it for in the first place! So I turned to you, RMT’ers, for some ideas. Thanks to those of you who came through for me!
The most popular idea recommended was to try mascarpone in pasta sauce, either tomato- or cream-based. While pasta wasn’t on the dinner menu in the amount of time left before the cheese’s expiration date, mac-and-cheese was on T’s daily lunch menu (always!). So I stirred some mascarpone into that and added some peas. I’d say it was a hit, and T was none the wiser. I tried it and loved it also.
Another suggestion was to put it with berries. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do this, so I just topped and hulled some strawberries and stuffed each of the caverns with a dollop of mascarpone. Wow. I’m fairly certain this was the exact moment when I declared that mascarpone overtook standard cream cheese in this house from then on. With just half the fat and calories of traditional cream cheese or butter per serving (per the container’s information and my own comparisons), mascarpone’s texture and taste is creamier, sweeter, richer, and more complex than the other two items. It’s for those reasons that mascarpone pairs especially well with berries also.
After those two tastings, I decided it was time to come up with a couple of mascarpone experiments of my own. First, since I am a huge fan of the lox and bagel pairing, it was time to try some mascarpone on toast with smoked salmon. Good call on my part; I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that once I ran out of the original tub of mascarpone (and the salmon), I put both items back on my grocery list so I could make this a new breakfast staple. Sorry, but salmon isn’t just for Sunday brunch or special occasions!
Another breakfast idea (funny how I am concentrating mostly on breakfast, but I love that meal!) was to pair it with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter on top of – yes, again – a waffle. Topped with bananas, it was pretty fall-tastic really, not to mention that C dashed in a bit of apple pie spice in the waffles to boot. Now that’s autumn at its finest flavors if you ask me!
I’ve moved onto my second tub of mascarpone with great ease and no fear. Any other simple recipe suggestions – kid-friendly or otherwise – as to what I can try next, RMT’ers?
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