Soft and delicate cheese from North Italy, stracchino is a delicious and versatile cheese that you can use in many dishes. Find out all about it here!
Known to have originated in the Lombardy region, stracchino (stra-kee-no) is now being produced in Piedmont, Veneto, and Liguria.
Although they might call it differently in different regions, like ‘crescenza‘ in Liguria, it’s easily identifiable by its softness and creaminess — very delicate in flavor and aroma.
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The name stracchino is derived from the Lombardian dialect for tired — ‘stracco.’ It refers to cows that returned tired from all their grazing, hence producing very little milk.
Initially, to make this cheese, you only need little milk and a short number of days for maturation — thirty days at max.
Nowadays, though, stracchino cheese is:
- Generally made with whole cow’s milk, giving us a buttery texture with the full flavor of milk.
- Eaten fresh or after letting it age for no more than fourteen days.
Stracchino cheese substitute
Taleggio, another Italian cheese, is the best substitute that you can use.
Although it has a bit of a more robust aroma, the flavor and texture are very similar to stracchino.
Placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will be suitable for two to three days.
Stracchino is milky white in color, so if you see some yellowish tint on the cheese, throw it away — that’s an indicator that it’s already spoiled.
How to use stracchino
Focaccia col Formaggio
It’s a Ligurian specialty where crescenza cheese is used as a filling for slightly thinner focaccia bread.
When they cut the focaccia into squares (or rectangles) for serving, you see the cheese oozing out between the bread. Yum!
In the Emilia-Romagna region, it’s normal to see it used with some cured meat or other vegetables like rucola — inside a folded Italian flatbread.
For the larger Romagna areas (including Marche, Umbria, etc.), stracchino cheese is used as a filling for two pieces of piadina instead of folding them.
Then the cascione is cut into portions and typically served as an appetizer.
Adding stracchino to any risotto will surely amp up its creaminess.
You do this in the last cooking stage, the same time when you add a chunk of butter and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
So give it a try one of these days!