Fantastic Recipes That Flaunt Fresh Cheese Like No Other

carrozza
Photo: Alan Benson
From the melty and gooey to the sharp and tart, we've got some stunning cheese-centered recipes you'll be unable to resist.

Holy cow, have we got some cheesy recipes for you! In his new book Milk. Made., Nick Haddow, founder of The Bruny Island Cheese Company in Tasmania, Australia, lays out a complete guide to cheese - how to choose it, serve it, cook with it, and, of course, eat it. He takes a tour of the world and interviews renowned cheesemakers in Australia, France, the UK, Switzerland, and the US to create an all-encompassing guide to this delicious and beloved food. We've pulled a few recipes that feature fresh cheese in a variety of different ways to show how truly versatile this amazing ingredient can be.

Arancini

These little Sicilian party pies are a real treat. Traditionally they're made from scratch, but they're also a great way to use leftover risotto.

arancini

What You'll Need

Makes about 10

  • 27 fl oz chicken stock
  • 9 oz arborio rice
  • Big pinch of saffron, steeped in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 2 hours
  • 3 1/2 oz parmesan, grated
  • 3 1/2 oz provolone, or any other semi-hard cheese, chopped into chunks
  • 10 bocconcini
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 oz plain (all-purpose_ flour
  • 10 1/2 oz dried breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Directions

Step 1: If starting from scratch, this is the way the Sicilians prepare the rice – it's quite different from making a risotto. Bring the stock to the boil in a medium- sized saucepan, then add the rice and saffron water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat right down to a low simmer and cook, without stirring, until the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan and the provolone. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the rice out on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool completely.

Step 2: To make the arancini, wet your hands and take a small handful of rice. Roll it around in your hands to form a shape that's bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball. Poke a hole in the middle with your finger, insert a bocconcini then squish the rice around to cover the hole. Set each ball aside while you keep going until all the rice is used up.

Step 3: Make a batter by beating together the egg, our and enough water to give it a thinnish consistency. Put the breadcrumbs on a plate.

Step 4: Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 350°F, or until a grain of rice dropped in sizzles as soon as it hits the oil. Dip each rice ball in the batter to coat, then roll in the breadcrumbs until completely covered. Shake off any excess crumbs, then fry the arancini in batches of 3–4 at a time, so that the oil does not cool down too much. Turn them over regularly to ensure that they cook evenly. When the arancini are golden brown, remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

Roast Beetroot and Feta Tart

This tart is all really - of course - about the feta. You could easily swap out the roast beets for roast pumpkin, leeks or any other veggies you like.

tart

What You'll Need

Serves 6

  • 2 large beets, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 French shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 14 oz crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 7 oz feta, crumbled

Shortcrust Pastry

  • 12 oz plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5 1/2 oz chilled butter, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons iced water


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 2: To make the shortcrust pastry, put the our and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture starts to come together. Turn out onto a clean work surface and form the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Put the beetroot in a baking dish and drizzle over a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30–40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Step 4: Lightly grease a 10 inch round loose-bottomed tart tin, about 1 1/4 in deep.

Step 5: On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a 1⁄4 in thick circle. Transfer the pastry to the tart tin – it should be large enough to line the base and side of the tin, with enough excess pastry to hang over the edge. Place on a baking tray and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 6: Line the tart base with baking paper and add some baking weights. Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and baking paper and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, or until the base is golden. While the pastry is still warm, trim the edge of any excess pastry. Reduce the oven temperature to 320°F.

Step 7: Whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, shallot and crème fraîche in a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then fold in the parsley and half of the cheese. Pour the mixture into the tart base, making sure the feta is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the oven (the tart will be wobbly and only half cooked at this stage). Top with the roast beetroot and the remaining feta. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until set. Serve warm or cool.

Mozzarella in Carrozza

Where there's bread and cheese, there's a dish that resembles a grilled cheese sandwich. Here's Italy's version, totally simple and amazingly delicious. Eat it plain or add basil, anchovies, tomato, or other fun flavors.

carrozza

What You'll Need

Makes 2

  • 4 thick slices white bread
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella
  • Olive oil for shallow frying
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour


Directions

Step 1: Remove the bread crusts and discard. Cut the mozzarella into slices about 1⁄4 in thick. Arrange the slices on two pieces of bread and sandwich together with the remaining slices of bread. Squish the edges of the sandwich together to help seal the bread.

Step 2: Pour the milk into a shallow bowl and the beaten egg into another bowl. Season the egg with salt and pepper. Finally, put the our on a plate.

Step 3: Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat.

Step 4: Working from left to right, dip the sandwiches in the milk, then coat both sides lightly in our before dunking in the beaten egg. Fry both sides until they are golden and crisp and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Honey, Whiskey and Saffron Cheesecake

This cheesecake is packed with intriguing flavors, making for a fascinating way to end a meal with friends.

cheesecake

What You'll Need

Serves 8

  • 1 lb 2 oz mascarpone
  • A few saffron strands, steeped in 1 tablespoon boiling water for at least 1 hour
  • 5 1/2 oz caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon leatherwood honey, warmed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 fl oz whiskey

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  • 6 1/2 oz plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


Directions

Step 1: To make the pastry, rub the our, butter and sugar between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively you can use a food processor to do this. Add the egg yolk and water, and mix until the dough comes together to form a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Step 2: Mix the mascarpone, saffron water, sugar, honey, eggs and whisky together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Step 3: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about 1⁄4 inch thick. Line a well greased 9 inch springform tin with baking paper and carefully place the pastry in the tin. Trim the edge of any excess pastry and return to the fridge to chill.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 5: Line the pastry base with baking paper and weights, and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and baking paper and bake the tart shell for a further 10 minutes.

Step 6: Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Allow to cool before serving.

Cured Ocean Trout, Grapefruit and Goat's Curd

This is a great combination of colors, flavors and textures. It's great as a starter to enjoy with cocktails before the main course at a dinner party.

cured trout

What You'll Need

Serves 8 as a starter

  • 2 lb 3 oz ocean trout fillet (or Atlantic salmon)
  • 7 oz raw sugar
  • 7 oz salt
  • 1 large beet, grated
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 5 1/2 oz fresh goat's cheese
  • 3 1/2 oz salmon roe
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Directions

Step 1: Lay the fish fillet skin side down on a chopping board. Run you fingers along the length of it, feeling for bones and removing any with sh tweezers.

Step 2: Combine the sugar, salt, beetroot, dill and lemon zest in a bowl. Lay the fish in a shallow baking dish and cover both sides with the sugar and salt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4–8 hours to cure.

Step 3: Rinse the curing mixture from the sh and pat dry. Using a very sharp filleting knife, cut the fish into very thin slices – cutting almost parallel with the chopping board – but do not slice through the skin. Set the slices of cured fish to one side and discard the skin.

Step 4: With a small, sharp knife, slice away the peel and pith of the grapefruit, exposing the flesh. Use your knife to cut out the flesh in between the segments. Set these to one side.

Step 5: On a serving platter, randomly arrange the slices of ocean trout. Add the grapefruit segments along with pieces of the goat's cheese, followed by the salmon roe. Garnish with a few sprigs of dill, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Ricotta Gnudi with Buttery Peas

Even though this looks impressive and like you spent all day making it, it's really simple to put together. This recipe calls for mushy, buttery peas to accompany the gnudi, but ricotta is such a great flavor vehicle that you can pair it with almost any pasta sauce you like.

gnudi

What You'll Need

Serves 4

  • 3 1/2 oz salted butter
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 1 lb 2 oz frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons pure cream (35% fat)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Gnudi

  • 12 1/2 fresh ricotta
  • 1 oz grated hard cheese, such as parmesan or similar grana-style cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz fine semolina, plus extra for dusting


Directions

Step 1: To make the gnudi, mix the ricotta, grated cheese, egg yolk and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl. Tip the semolina into a shallow baking dish and dust a plate with a little extra semolina. Working quickly with damp hands, roll a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture in your hands to form a rough ball. Roll it in the semolina and then form into a smooth ball, about the size of a golf ball. Place on the plate and continue until all of the ricotta mixture is used – you should end up with about 12 dumplings. Cover the gnudi with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to rm up.

Step 2: Melt the butter with the sage leaves in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat just as the butter is starting to brown.

Step 3: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the frozen peas. Simmer for five minutes until tender. Remove the peas with a slotted spoon and transfer to a food processor with the cream and lemon juice. Process until almost smooth. Add to the melted butter and stir to combine. Pour into a serving dish and set aside.

Step 4: Bring the water to the boil again, then reduce to a simmer. Working in two or three batches, add the gnudi and cook for about 3 minutes, or until they oat to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and serve on top of the warmed buttery peas.


To buy this cookbook, click here.

milk made

Recipes and images excerpted from Milk. Made. A Book About Cheese: How to Choose It, Serve It and Eat It by Nick Haddow, (Hardie Grant Publishing, 2016).