Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a fresh Mozzarella-making class hosted by Rynn Caputo, President of Caputo Brothers Creamery. The 2-hour class took place at one of my favorite restaurants in northern New Jersey, A Toute Heure.
The class was small, less than 25 cheese enthusiasts, and everyone who wished had a chance to work at making cheese along with Rynn, who patiently tutored us in her craft.
Working from frozen then thawed curd base, hot water and salt were added and gooey cheese began forming. It is an art to know when to stop stirring the hot water and curd mixture and when to begin stretching the cheese to make it silky, smooth. “I think the most important thing about our cheese is that it gives people the ability to experience these Pasta Filata-style cheese in the manner they were intended: fresh, the day they were made, with the flavors they would expect from these cheeses in Italy”, says Caputo.
The fresh cheese was molded into the familiar balls, but also torn into long shreds for Burrata and flattened, pizza dough-style, for pesto-stuffed pinwheels. This is by far the best fresh Mozzarella cheese I have had, and I am a passionate fan. “Mozzarella should taste like something, and so we are out to show people how simple it is to stretch and make it yourself so that you can experience these flavors anytime you want”, continues Caputo.
A Toute Heure, the farm-to-table gastronome’s paradise, showcases Caputo Brothers Creamery cheeses at its establishment to the delight of its cult following clientele. “I’ve made a lot of Mozzarella over the years but wanted to learn how to make Burrata and Burino so I could put them on my summer menu”, states Executive Chef Kara Decker.
Here is an easy way to use fresh Mozzarella for a simple, yet tasty dish:
Chorizo, Mozzarella Penne with Yellow Tomato Sauce
- 3 cups, yellow cherry tomatoes (could use red)
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. each red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper
- ½ pound dry penne pasta, cooked one minute less than recommended on the box
- 4 fresh Chorizo links, cooked on the grill then cut into bite-size slices
- 1 cup fresh Mozzarella, cubed
- Parmesan cheese, for grating
- Add the tomatoes and basil to a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds, until a chunky salsa is created.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil for 30 seconds. Add the spices and cook for an additional 30 seconds, stirring.
- Pour the salsa mixture into saucepan with the oil and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir gently to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the Chorizo slices and the Mozzarella to the pasta and stir to combine. Cook an additional minute.
- Serve with a grating of Parmesan cheese.
Serves two generously.
For details on future events hosted by A Toute Heure, access its Events Page.
To learn about Caputo Brothers Creamery and its future classes, access its website.
Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie
Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County, NJ. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews and insight into the travel industry. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.