Better than mozzarella?

Jill Dupleix
Cheese-lovers delight: Italian burrata with peppers, olive oil and capers.
Cheese-lovers delight: Italian burrata with peppers, olive oil and capers. Photo: Edwina Pickles

What is it?

A fresh Italian curd cheese similar to mozzarella, invented in the southern Italian region of Puglia and made from cow or buffalo milk. The cheese is formed into a pouch while still warm, filled with fresh cream and the soft, stringy rags of curd left over from making mozzarella, then drawn up and tied into a money-bag shape. When cut, the rich creamy liquid oozes out rather spectacularly onto the plate.

Where is it?

In Sydney, the word burrata is permanently scrawled on the blackboard at Surry Hills hot spot Buffalo Dining Club. "Burrata should be eaten within two days of being made," says co-owner Michael Fantuz, who sources it from northern Queensland. "It's so fresh, we don't like to do too much with it, just offer simple things like prosciutto San Daniele on the side. I also like it broken up over pasta with cherry tomatoes and eggplant."

In Melbourne, head chef Nicola Dusi at Baby pizzeria shreds fresh, creamy burrata over the top of a sizzling hot pan-fried pizza base, along with caramelised cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. "We created this pizza so we could serve burrata at the proper temperature," he explains. "This way, it gently melts on the way to the table."

Why do I care?

Because it's soft, supple, rich and milky; a special treat for fresh cheese lovers.

Can I do it at home?

Serve with prosciutto and salami or with new season strawberries and balsamic vinegar, or shred the burrata and scatter over pasta, pizza or fresh tomatoes.

Sourcing

Burrata is available from Italian food stores and cheese specialists (look for Cuore Blu by That's Amore Cheese in Victoria and Paesanella in NSW).

VIC
Baby, 631 Church Street, Richmond 03 9421 4599

NSW
Buffalo Dining Club, 116 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst 02 9332 4052

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Burrata with peppers, olives and capers

This makes a great salad or shared entree. If you can't get fresh burrata, scatter with fresh mozzarella instead.

2 red capsicum

2 yellow capsicum

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 burrata, drained

2 tbsp parsley, basil or mint leaves

2 tbsp Nicoise or Ligurian olives

2 tbsp capers, rinsed

1. Cut the ''sides'' off each capsicum, and discard the core and seeds. Cut each side into rough two-centimetre squares.

2. Combine the capsicum with the olive oil, sea salt and pepper in a saucepan, and gently stew for 10 to 15 minutes, without colouring. When the capsicum is softened, glossy and fruity, add the parsley, olives and capers, tossing well.

3. Serve on a large platter and gently place the burrata on top. Drizzle with the pan juices and a little more extra virgin olive oil, and cut when you get to the table.

Serves: 4