Sunday, January 29, 2012

Foodbuzz 24x24: Let's Make Burrata!

What could be better than fresh mozzarella encasing a luscious mixture of curds and cream?  In my book, not much! 

Burrata; which means “buttery” in Italian, was a hidden delicacy that only until recently was discovered, exported and incorporated into dishes in the United States.  Produced in the Puglia (Apulia being the Latin name) region of Italy, otherwise known as “the heel of the boot”, as a means of using curd leftover from making mozzarella, this amazingly indulgent cheese has a incredibly rich flavor that is wonderful not only on its own but, also when incorporated into other recipes.

Let’s Make Burrata!

In getting started with cheese making, particularly for Mozzarella, there are several components you need to make this recipe a success; calcium chloride (needed when using store bought milk), liquid vegetable rennet, and citric acid all of which can be found online or in culinary supply stores.  There are many recipes out there for mozzarella, I am using  Ricki Carroll’s 30 Minute recipe.

Ingredients

1 gallon whole milk
¼ tsp liquid vegetable rennet, diluted in ¼ cup water
½ tsp calcium chloride
1 ½ tsp citric acid, diluted in ½ cup water
1 tsp salt
1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream

1. Dilute the citric acid into the half cup of water 5 minutes prior, stir it into the milk [*When using store bought milk, add the calcium chloride when you put the milk into the pot.] and heat slowly to 90 degrees (F).  Remove the pot from the heat, slowly stir in the rennet, cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Check the curd, it should resemble the consistency of custard; if still too soft allow to stand a few more minutes.

2. Once the curd has developed the right consistency, cut it into roughly one inch cubes, making sure to cut through to the bottom of the pot, then place back on the burner and heat to 105 degrees (F) while slowly stirring.  Remove from the heat and continue stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Remove a third portion of the curd, break it into small pieces and set aside to drain, and once drained, mix in the heavy cream.  If making Sweet Burrata; add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and honey to taste.

4. Transfer the rest of the curd to a colander allowing the whey to drain off, you should notice the texture becoming firmer as this happens. Press the curd to help drain off as much whey as possible. 

5. Using a microwave safe bowl, heat the curd on high for 1 minute, pour off any whey that drains, knead the curd, then microwave another 30 seconds, repeating as needed until the curd reaches 135 degrees (F) continuing to knead.  At this point the curd should be almost too hot to handle.

6. When the curd is hot enough it will begin to stretch, continue kneading and stretching until you reach the consistency of mozzarella.  When this happens; knead it back into a ball, divide into desired portions, then flatten into disk shape.  Fill each disk with equal portions of the curd and cream mixture then pull the mozzarella up around, twisting at the top to seal.

7. Once shaped, wrap the purses with muslin and place in a strainer over a bowl in the refridgerator to allow any leftover whey to drain off.  If using right away, do this for about 20 minutes prior to use.   

Puglia on a Plate

For the January Foodbuzz 24x24; I wanted to demonstrate not only how easy it is to make Burrata but, also to show how it can be incorporated into dishes without them becoming too heavy.  For me, the perfect accompaniment to this buttery rich cheese is acidity, be it in form of fresh tomatoes, pasta served with a lemony wine based sauce or the tangy bite of balsamic.  I have come up with a menu of dishes that I feel, show off not only traditional ways of serving burrata but, my twist on these recipes.

Insalata Caprese
Silky burrata served with vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil drizzled with balsamic.

One purse of fresh burrata
6 tomatoes sliced
Fresh basil leaves
balsamic

Simply slice the burrata layering between slices of tomato and fresh basil leaves.  Drizzle with balsamic, salt and pepper before serving.

Rigatoni con Spinaci e Burrata con Salsa Piccante al Limome Vino
Mezzi Rigatoni with spinach, artichokes, black olives and burrata tossed in a spicy lemon wine sauce.

The great thing about adding burrata in with a pasta dish such as this is that it melts beautifully with the sauce adding a creaminess you just cannot get with other cheeses.

One pound mezzi rigatoni
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup sliced artichoke hearts 
1/2 cup halved black olives
half an onion, chopped
Two minced garlic gloves
1 cup white wine
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup stock
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup burrata thinly sliced

In a pan, heat the olive oil, sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, then add the wine and let cook for 2 minutes before stirring in the stock, bring the sauce to a simmer on medium, and add the spinach.  Cook the pasta in salted boiling water to al dente, toss in the sauce, allow everything to cook for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit 10 minutes.  Thinly slice the burrata and toss in with the pasta, season with salt and pepper, top with grated parmesan and serve.

Pollo Braciole
Chicken cutlets stuffed with chard, herbs, sundried tomatoes & burrata, rolled, then slowly simmered in a light marinara.

Braciole; is an Italian dish, usually referring to thin sliced of beef fried in their own juices.  My version throws a twist on this classic, using chicken cutlets stuffed with a flavorful filling that is richened with burrata then simmered vibrant marinara; this is a light meal that showcases the burrata beautifully. 

Six chicken breasts
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
One purse of fresh burrata, thinly sliced
One bunch Swiss chard
Two cloves of garlic minced
28 oz can tomatoes, pureed
½ cup fresh basil leaves
One small onion
½ cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup chicken stock

In a heavy bottom pan, heat about one tablespoon of olive oil on medium; sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes, sautéing a few minutes until fragrant, then slice the Swiss chard into ribbons and add it into the pan, tossing to coat.  Allow the chard to cook until it begins to wilt, about 5 minutes, remove the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Sandwich each chicken breast in between two sheets of plastic wrap, and using a meat tenderizer pound each into a ¼ inch thick cutlet.  Season each cutlet with salt and pepper then set aside. 

Once the filling mixture has cooled, add two tablespoons of filling to each cutlet, top with a thin slice of burrata and roll using a toothpick to secure.  In the same pan that was used to sauté the chard; brown each rolled cutlet in a little olive oil, remove from the pan; pour in the tomatoes and stock, tear in the basil, season with salt and pepper, return the cutlets to the pan, cover and let simmer until cooked through about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Burrata Dulce
Burrata sweetened with honey, scented with vanilla, served with fresh berries and drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction.

One purse of burrata, prepared as specified above for the sweet version
¼ cup honey
½ cup balsamic
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups mixed berries
1 tsp lemon zest
2 basil leaves

In a sauce pan, bring the balsamic to a simmer, and let the mixture reduce slightly, stir in the honey and vanilla extract, then let reduce by a quarter, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.

Slice the sweet burrata and arrange on a plate with the mixed berries, drizzle with the balsamic honey mixture and tear the basil leaves over the top before serving.

23 comments:

  1. So many tasty recipes! It's the perfect Italian feast! The Burrata Dulce looks like a great way to finish off this meal. I'd definitely have to find some room to fit that in after all the other delicious courses.

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  2. Thanks Jeff! The dulce version turned out amazing, the vanilla and balsamic syrup work beautifully together. The burrata itself was so much easier to make than I assumed it would be. It is definitely worth trying!

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  3. Glad to see all this wonderful italian food. The burrata dulce is new to me but obviously I have been missing out, it looks scrumptious. The other courses shown here are also very tempting. Congrats on being chosen for 24X24, you did an amazing job.

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  4. Congrats on this fabulous 24x24, this is quite an accomplishment as a food publisher.. it's more than well deserving, they really hit the jackpot picking you, lovely post and photo's nicely done... I would indulge in every single wonderful part if this ITalian Feast! WOW~

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  5. Absolutely stunning! What a GREAT 24x24 idea and your execution was flawless! I love it!

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  6. Very cool - I've never made cheese before. There are so many tasty recipes here...They look wonderful!

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  7. I am so impressed you made your own burrata! It is my favorite cheese, when prepared correctly. Love it with a syrupy balsamic and fruit The perfect dessert - and a gorgeous pic!

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  8. Brilliant post and congrats on the 24x24. I've learnt so much about this versatile food. Thanks! Anthony :)

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  9. What an amazing-looking meal! Must go to Foodbuzz and send you some buzz. I am in awe that you actually MADE burrata, one of my favorite things!

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  10. Thank you everyone for the amazing comments! This was such a fun post to create and surprisingly super simple to make! If you take time to try making Burrata, I highly suggest trying my recipe for Burrata Dulce. The flavors are wonderful and it offers something unique as a dessert option.

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  11. Wow! This whole menu looks amazing!! I would have loved to be there to taste everything :)

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  12. What a wonderful 24x24!! I would LOVE to eat this meal! I've never had Burrata, but now you have me totally curious!

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  13. Amazing recipes! thank you so much for the step by step. This was really helpful and I look forward to trying your recipes

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  14. What a beautiful post. Enticing recipes, homemade burratta - wow! Everything just looks delicious!

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  15. That burrata dolce looks like the perfect ending! What a creative 24x24!

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  16. What a great recipe! Mozzarella and burrata can be really hard to make, love this microwave recipe!

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  17. I have just madly fallen in love with you. YUMMM.

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  18. This is awesome! I have wanted to try making home made cheese for years now but never got brave enough. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  19. Wow, this looks amazing! I will definitely have to try it... thanks for sharing this!

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  20. Oh what a great how-to! We made mozzarella in one of our culinary labs and it was one of my favorite parts of the quarter =)

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  21. What a great post. So many wonderful dishes. I tried to make mozzarella some time ago, I tried several different methods, and it never worked. This makes me want to try again.

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  22. congrats on the 24x24. This is a wonderful and creative idea. I don't know if I have the patience to try making burrata (although I def wouldnt mind eating it), but if I do...then I know where I am coming for instructions.

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  23. I adore burrata, and I've always been a bit timid to make it, thanks for giving me the boost to give it a go :)

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