What is scamorza?
Recognisable by its pale yellow texture and charming, knob-like bobble on top, scamorza is a semi-soft cheese made from cow's milk, although some are made with a mixture of cow and sheep’s milk. It's produced in southern areas of Italy extending from the region of Marche to Basilicata all the way to the Molise, Campania and Calabria regions. However, it is primarily made in Puglia, located at the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’.
Scamorza is a close relative of the much-loved mozzarella cheese, except its curds are broken up more finely, creating a lower-moisture cheese. As a result, scamorza has a slightly firm, chewy texture, making it ideal for melting on pizza or frying on its own. It partially holds its shape when cooked in slices but maintains an indulgent, stringy consistency once bitten into. Flavour-wise, scamorza boasts a mild, creamy smokiness with a hint of spice and sweet caramel notes, dependant on the length of time it is smoked for.
How is scamorza made?
After rennet is added to the milk and curds form, the curds are subsequently pulled and stretched to alter the texture of the cheese. This is method of cheese making is called pasta filata and is the same process used to make mozzarella, the only difference being the curds used to make scamorza are broken up a little more, allowing for moisture to escape, thus giving its slightly firmer texture. This is also where scamorza supposedly gains its name, since the verb scamozzare, meaning to break or cut off, is in reference to the part of the production process in which curds are broken into smaller pieces.
The cheese is then hung by a rope for two weeks to age, which in turn causes the development of its signature ‘pinched neck’ bobbled shape. After two weeks of ageing, the cheese is sold as it is, this is scamorza bianca, or it is smoked using tawny whisps of smoke made by burning straw – this version is called scamorza affumicata. The short ageing time allows for the rind to be deliciously edible, with a little tang.
Our favourite scamorza pasta recipes
Enjoy this deliciously creamy cheese in sandwiches, salads, or atop bruschetta. Alternatively, it is sumptuous as part of a savoury pasta filling. Why not try one of our flavoursome scamorza pasta recipes?
These tortelloni are filled with a distinctly untraditional, but rather delightful, pairing of scamorza and speck (a cured ham from Italy's northern Trentino-Alto Adige region). Paired with a simple sage butter, they make for a luxurious, deeply savoury dish.
These delicious ravioli will transport you to Italy's sun-kissed south. Both courgette and scamorza are associated with the Italian region of Campania, even if fresh ravioli aren't a typically Campanian pasta. Courgette provide a delicate freshness, which is offset by the lightly smoked scamorza. For us, it's a match made in heaven.