An Italian fresh or unripened cheese traditionally made from water buffalo’s milk (Mozzarella di Bufala) around the Naples area. It’s a firm but creamy cheese that tastes like fresh milk with a slightly sour edge to it. It melts well and has a unique stretchiness, making it the classic pizza topping cheese.
Mozzarella is now also made predominantly from cow’s milk and is made all over Italy as well as in other countries, including the UK (where some producers are making mozzarella from water buffalo milk). Mozzarella is sold in rounds about the size of a small fist. Because it has no rind it’s packed in plastic bags, surrounded by water to keep it fresh. You’re more likely to find buffalo mozzarella from good delis or cheese shops and also look out for small mozzarella balls called ‘bocconcini’ which are sold in tubs.
Mozzarella is too soft to grate but cut thin slices and layer them in pasta bakes or put a slice on top of pieces of meat or chicken before grilling them. Italy’s classic salad – insalata Caprese – is made with slices of mozzarella and ripe tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and scattered with torn basil leaves and a little salt.