Mascrapone. That's how I keep typing this! Doesn't sound so appetizing, does it? MasCARpone, MasCARpone, MasCARpone.........I think I've got it now.
Anyway, this was a new food item for us this past week. I've heard of mascarpone (masCARpone, masCARpone) and have heard some say you can sub cream cheese in its place, but I am very glad that we were able to try the real thing. While its texture is similar to cream cheese, macarpone has a very rich, buttery flavor and feel - much more decadent than cream cheese.
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. It is a simple pasta dish with mascarpone, walnuts, sage and browned butter. Oh my goodness is this good. The recipe calls for tossing the pasta with the browned butter, sage and walnuts and then topping it off with a dollop of the macarpone/Parmesan mixture. Biting into larger amounts of marcarpone didn't appeal to me; I wanted it to be distributed evenly throughout, so I just mixed it in with everything else. This worked quite well and I was satisfied with my alteration. One note: As terrific as this was the first day, it did not reheat well the next day; it just didn't have much flavor. That's a shame - I love leftover pasta!
Cooking Light: Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone. This sounded like a marriage made in heaven and it was. Delicious! And simple too. The beef broth and reserved liquid from the dried porcini mushrooms make a lovely, flavorful broth for stirring into the risotto. I had one moment of panic after starting the prep for this recipe - I only had a 1/2 cup of arborio rice left! Rather than abandoning efforts to make this recipe, I simply made up the difference with barley and it worked beautifully. Whew! If you would like to make this more nutritious by using all barley, I think it would turn out very well.
My only other change - in my efforts to use up the rest of the mascarpone, I went over the 1/4 cup called for in this recipe - it ended up somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup. The only bad thing about this recipe? No leftovers (we served it as the main dish). One last note - this risotto dish stayed nice and fluid as we were eating it - it didn't get gummy as risottos often do as they cool down.
So, we tried a new food this week and ended up with 2 excellent recipes. The Jack Bishop dish is quite rich and will have to be a once in a while recipe, but I noticed that Cooking Light had another risotto recipe with macarpone and leeks.........going to have to give that one a try too!