Mascarpone pasta is a pasta dish consisting of mascarpone, which is an Italian variety of cream cheese. Mascarpone is used to make a creamy sauce with other ingredients such as olive oil, onions, garlic, cream, flavoring herbs and seasonings. The cooked pasta is tossed in this sauce to make the dish. Mascarpone pasta can be served as a starter, side or main dish and can be made into many variations with the use of additional ingredients, some examples being Spinach Mascarpone Pasta and Bacon Mascarpone Pasta.
What is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is a cream cheese made with cream which has been coagulated with the use of citric or acetic acid. It is produced in the Lombardy region of Italy, and has a milky white color, velvety texture and spreadable consistency.
Preparation Overview for Mascarpone Pasta
Ingredients: Mascarpone cheese, pasta or any kind, olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper are the ingredients suggested by the basic mascarpone pasta recipe. Ingredients like grated Parmesan cheese and basil may also be used.
Method of Preparation: To prepare the dish, garlic and onions are sautéed till tender in heated olive oil, after which tomatoes, which have been pre-cooked in boiling water, peeled and chopped, are added. The tomatoes are allowed to cook for some time, after which some of the liquid left behind after cooking the tomatoes is added to them along with mascarpone to make a thick, creamy sauce. Seasonings of salt and pepper are adjusted. The pasta is cooked in plenty of boiling salted water and drained, after which it is tossed with the prepared sauce.
Mascarpone pasta is served hot, often with a garnish of grated hard cheese such as Parmesan and/or basil sprig. The pasta can be served as a starter, side or main dish. Accompaniments like bread and salad can be served with it.
Mascarpone Pasta Recipe Variations
- Bacon Mascarpone Pasta: This version is prepared by cooking bacon in a heated skillet on medium-low heat till it is crisp, and then crumbling it and adding it to the pasta and sauce mix at the final stage of preparation.
- Spinach Mascarpone Pasta: This variant is made by including spinach leaves in the mascarpone sauce. This is done by adding spinach to sautéed onions and garlic and cooking for a few minutes till they wilt. The rest of the procedure for making the sauce remains same as suggested by the standard recipe.
Mascarpone pasta is a good source of calcium and protein on account of the mascarpone cheese used. Use of mascarpone adds extra calories to the dish, as there are about 60 calories in a single tablespoonful of mascarpone cheese.