What to make with fresh mozzarella?
September 1, 2010 9:11 AM   Subscribe

What can I do with a pound of fresh mozzarella for dinner tonight? We are headed out of town for the long weekend, and I'd like to use it before we go. I have access to a farmer's market at lunch today, but I have no idea where to start.
posted by Zophi to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Caprese salad and a pizza?
posted by adamrice at 9:13 AM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Not very creative, but I like pasta tossed with fresh mozz, tomato and basil. You could also do pizzas (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods usually have pre-made dough).

Personally, I'd probably just eat it with a fork, but then I'd regret it.
posted by sharding at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pizzas. The trick is a HOT oven and really thin dough.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2010

Caprese salad is the obvious (to me) answer: arrange generous slices of mozzarella on a plate, alternated with fresh basil leaves and heirloom tomato slices. (Get the best tomato you can possibly get. Your mouth will thank you.) Drizzle with a little olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Use more salt than you think you should. It will be delicious.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2010 [8 favorites]

Yep. Slice mozz, slice tomatoes, tear off lots of basil leaves, arrange on plate, drizzle with olive oil and pepper. You'll be glad you did.
posted by scratch at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I think of mozzarella I think pizza. Since you're headed to the farmer's market you could get all kinds of yummy fresh veggies for toppings. If you're feeling really ambitious you could make your own crust, otherwise you can just pick up ready made dough or a crust at the supermarket. (I like to make personal pizzas by rolling out refrigerator rolls, the ones that come in the little tube.)
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2010

I see there's a "preview" option here. Humph.
posted by scratch at 9:15 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Chicken parmigiana - so good with lots of cheesy melted goodness on top.
posted by cecic at 9:18 AM on September 1, 2010

nthing caprese salad, though I prefer to add balsamic vinegar to mine.
posted by litnerd at 9:20 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lasagna :)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:22 AM on September 1, 2010

Seconding pizza! The hot oven and thin dough is good advice. If you make the dough yourself, it'll rise more than you think in the oven. Also: you might want to bake the dough for like 8 minutes before you put toppings on.
posted by wayland at 9:23 AM on September 1, 2010

Mozzarella ice cream
posted by Bwithh at 9:26 AM on September 1, 2010

Definitely caprese salad. Pizza is great, but is not dependent on the luciousness of ripe tomatoes for its effect.
posted by OmieWise at 9:27 AM on September 1, 2010

Nthing the suggestions of both Caprese salad AND either pasta or pizza. A full pound of fresh mozz will make way too much of only one of these, and with the salad and entree, you have both bases covered and your mozzarella finished before the long weekend starts.

Buy more basil than you think you can possibly use, and in addition to whatever heirloom tomatoes you buy for the Caprese, buy a mix of about 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lbs of a variety of ripe tomatoes, some high acid, some low acid (yellow or orange) and some sweet grape or cherry tomatoes.

Then here is one of the simplest pasta recipes you can make using those, and requiring very little cooking other than the pasta itself: Uncooked Tomato Sauce for Fusilli. Thanks to Lynne Rosetto Kasper and "The Italian Country Table."

This is an amazing summer garden meal, and while I would definitely make this with the Pecorino Romano or the Fontinella she recommends, I make this several times a month once the tomatoes start coming in and I'll use whatever high quality cheese I have on hand, though, I'll usually add a 1/4 cup of parmigiano-reggiano to a soft, blander cheese like the fresh mozz.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:30 AM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Maybe an antipasto? Cut the mozzarella into a medium dice, along with your favorite hard salami, maybe some ham, fresh red and/or green bell peppers, some pepperoncini, and any other fresh veggie you think would be good. Whip up a quick vinaigrette, toss and serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread.

Okay, now I'm hungry.
posted by slogger at 9:30 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, also throw in some diced fresh tomato, cooked pasta and fresh herbs to that antipasto...
posted by slogger at 9:32 AM on September 1, 2010

If you are not a tomato person, red peppers (fresh or sun-dried) work fairly well in a caprese-style salad. I'm told olives are also delicious in that situation, but I am not an olive person.

(On preview: The idea of mozzarella ice cream has introduced me to a whole new level of potential bliss...)
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:32 AM on September 1, 2010

in this hemisphere, at least, this is pretty much the ONLY time of year you can make one of my favorite foods in the world and have it be as delicious as it should be:

Go to the farmer's market and buy a two pints of assorted cherry tomatoes (make sure some are sungolds for extra sweetness) and some fresh basil. If there's a vendor selling fresh pasta, buy some of that, too, because it's a million times better than dried.

Then make pasta with uncooked tomato sauce & fresh mozzarella, thus:

Combine the following in food processor or blender:
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions (white and light green parts only) sliced
15 or so basil leaves, sliced in ribbons
1- 2 oz piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, broken or chopped into chunks
1/4 cup good olive oil
a splash or two of good balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Pulse in blender or food processor until tomatoes are roughly chopped and everything is pretty well combined. DO NOT PUREE.

Pour into bowl, let flavors combine at room temperature for 30 minutes or so.

Cook pasta.

Just before pasta is done, take:

1 lb fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2-inch cubes

and stir it into the uncooked tomato sauce

Drain pasta, toss with sauce.

Top with more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and slices basil if you want, or, y'know, don't. Up to you.
posted by dersins at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2010 [15 favorites]

baked pasta with tomatoes and mozzarella (pasta al forno con pomodori e mozzarella) (incredients include exactly 1lb of mozzarella). Makes a lot, but you can reheat the rest when you get back from your long weekend.
posted by caek at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2010

I'm with sharding, sprinkle posh salt on it and eat it with a fork.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2010

If you don't want to heat up your kitchen, just make tomato sandwiches on good crusty bread with basil instead of lettuce or other greens.

Pesto is easy too. Basil, garlic, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and some garlic. Mmmm and if you freeze it you can use it to flavor your soups in winter.
posted by headnsouth at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd make baked ziti. Pretty much what caek said.
posted by gnutron at 9:40 AM on September 1, 2010

Yep. Slice mozz, slice tomatoes, tear off lots of basil leaves, arrange on plate, drizzle with olive oil and pepper. You'll be glad you did.

This! I just made this last night, although I drizzled with balsamic vinegar as well the olive oil. Today's lunch was this on crusty bread. Dee-lish!
posted by Nutritionista at 9:40 AM on September 1, 2010

Um. Sorry, reading all the answers got me thinking about basil, not mozzarella, and I have basil in my kitchen right now looking for ways to be eaten, so I got carried away and answered a question you didn't ask.

Although fresh mozzarella would be great on those crusty-bread sandwiches.
posted by headnsouth at 9:41 AM on September 1, 2010

Eggplant parmesan. The linked recipe calls for a pound of fresh mozzarella and is completely delicious.
posted by bethist at 9:59 AM on September 1, 2010

Lasagna. Eggplant parmesan. Mozzarella in carozza, which are more or less fried mozzarella sandwiches.
posted by romakimmy at 10:05 AM on September 1, 2010

I would do Pizza with part of it. We like to make small, long pizzas with higher sides and load it with tomatoes, garlic, spinach, olive-oil and then some seafood (scallops) or thin spanish ham.

Another option we used to do in Argentina (mostly with Provolone but it works well with Mozzarella) is to get a grill nice and hot. Pour olive oil, salt, pepper, a little paprika and some chopped basic and garlic onto a plate. Then slice the mozzarella into 1/4 - 1/2 slices. Dip both sides onto the plate to coat them and then throw it on the grill for 60 seconds per side. Generally, slightly thicker slices hold up better. If you're worried about melting stick the cheese in the freezer for 5 minutes and then slice it before grilling.

posted by damiano99 at 10:20 AM on September 1, 2010

If you don't want to heat up your kitchen, just make tomato sandwiches on good crusty bread with basil instead of lettuce or other greens.

These are so unspeakably good. I pretty much have to avoid buying all of those components at the same time because I can't get enough of these sandwiches.
posted by XMLicious at 10:20 AM on September 1, 2010

I've been dying to make this cheesy pasta recipe, but I can never keep a full pound of mozz in my kitchen without eating it first.
posted by kerning at 10:22 AM on September 1, 2010

Every answer sounds delicious, and now I have no idea how I'm going to make it through the day. Thanks for the spectacular suggestions!
posted by Zophi at 10:24 AM on September 1, 2010

With all due respect to dersins, please don't put your fresh wonderful parmigianno-reggiano in the blender with all the other ingredients. Chunk it out on top just before serving.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:37 AM on September 1, 2010

Nonsense. Do both. Putting the chunks in the blender / food processor causes it to emulsify with the oil, balsamic and the juices from the tomatoes and to give a slightly thicker, umami-rich body to the sauce. Then grate or shave some more on top at the end.
posted by dersins at 11:30 AM on September 1, 2010


Sorry. That was unnecessarily dismissive of me. Retracted.
posted by dersins at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2010

Thank you, dersins, I can dial down my Sicilian now! And I bit my tongue about the balsamic vinegar!!
posted by thinkpiece at 12:19 PM on September 1, 2010

Pizza at home is never as good as pizza in a pizzeria, and it's often not that much cheaper.

I like baked ziti and pick up sauce from a local italian restaurant. I use a little more than a pound to cover a 13x19 pyrex.

Also a big fan of locally grown tomato, mozzarella, olive olive oil and arugula/basil hot, open face sandwiches.
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:12 AM on September 6, 2010

Baked ziti is great and so is the suggestion for open face sandwiches. As far as pizza never as good in pizzerias? I'd agree if the OP were in Asti or Parma. And while your area's pizzerias make MUCH MUCH better pie than anywhere within 200 miles of me, homemade--even with a standard oven--can make arguably better AND unarguably less expensive pizza.

I know that AskMe threads aren't for arguing--so I apologize if I come off that way. I have no idea how the pizza near zophi is, but should she find herself in the "I have a pound of fresh mozz" mix again, then she, or you might want to try one of these pizza dough recipes. There's a thickness range to please all preferences, thin, thick, and in between.

Save yourself a trip to the Italian restaurant to buy your sauce--unless they are artisan and making it themselves, likely you are buying something they buy in food service size cans. Try this simple, quick sauce--or this one for the full Monty--er ziti.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:10 AM on September 6, 2010

beelzbubba, yes, they make it themselves, some days I watch them doing the jarring, the entire cooking area is visible from the dining area.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:33 PM on September 10, 2010

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