BY CAMILLE ORRICHIO LOCCISANO
Mascarpone cheese is high on my list of favorite ingredients. Of Italian origins, it is akin to American cream cheese and even more versatile. Mascarpone can be used for every course.
Whisk it into a vibrant dip by adding capers, anchovies, extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs. It can also be added to dishes such as risotto or mashed potatoes, and it will yield a desired creaminess.
Finally, mascarpone is an important ingredient for the very popular tiramisu. This cheese has a mellow flavor that gently and cleverly lifts the flavor of the espresso, and that is the main reason why tiramisu is such a commercial success. Suffice it to say, the culinary possibilities for mascarpone are numerous and exciting!
My following recipe, Mascarpone Amaretto Dip, is one I would serve often when I catered cocktail parties. It was always very well received, and my family and friends also enjoy it at home. My suggestion is to serve it with melons or strawberries, but you can use any favored array of fruit.
Melons or Strawberries
2 cups mascarpone
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Amaretto
If using melons, remove the rinds from watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. Cut into long slices, or you can create tri-color melon balls with a scooper. For strawberries, wash well, pat dry and leave them whole with the stems still on. This makes an attractive presentation.
Mix the mascarpone cheese, sugar, and Amaretto in a bowl, and arrange the fruits attractively on a tray. Garnish with mint, and serve chilled.