Burrata for lunch.

When Vincenzo isn’t home for lunch and therefore pasta isn’t obligatory I will most likely have one of my solitary lunch favorites – of which there are about 7 – which I eat whilst doing the crossword.

This is one of them.

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Two slices of lightly toasted pane di Lariano, a dollop of sun dried tomato paste and half a rotund ephemeral burrata dribbled with some extra virgin olive oil, this one is especially nice.

One eye on the crossword and one on my lunch I spread some tomato paste on a corner of bread before scooping and squashing a little of the creamy burrata on top. I eat and get frustrated at 7 down, 4 letters, clue – Jules Verne’s submarine captain………I spread a little more paste and nudge some more burrata onto the next section of bread…..I remember the answer, captain Nemo, I write it in. And so it goes, clue, bite, clue, bite. Finally I have a third slice of bread – not toasted so as to maintain full soaking capacity – to mop up the creamy oily juices.

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For those of you who are not familiar with burrata, it is a speciality from the sturdy heel of Italy, Puglia . It was invented by farmers from the city of Andria in the early 20th century as a way to reclaim unused curds, the scraps, rags and offcuts from the mozzarella making process, it is made in much the same way as mozzarella.  Like mozzarella some burrata is made from bufala milk whilst some is made from the milk of razza poldolica cows which graze on fragrant herbs and grasses near Andria and Martina Franca in Puglia.

The stretched curd is made to form a little pouch which is then filled with strings and rags of mozzarella curd mixed with salted cream. The pouches are then knotted before being dipped in brine. Traditionally each burrata was wrapped in bright green lily leaves but today you are more likely to find them wrapped in white plastic with a green plastic leaf attached.

They are both funny and charming little parcels. I really should start giving them as presents…or…no….I mean people should really start giving me them as presents.

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Unwrapped they are creamy white, as wrinkled as your finger tips after a long soak in the bath and this wonderful rotund shape with a top knot which reminds me of a sumo wrestler. Burrata are not as firm as mozzarella being filled with much creamy liquid deliciousness, holding one in your hand is a little like negotiating a handful of jelly or a balloon filled with water, handling burrata it isn’t something you can do with a straight face.

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No neat slices here, tear the pouch with your fingertips and the creamy contents comes tumbling out, a whoosh as a mass of stringy curds bathed in cream floods your plate. It feels primitive. So does the eating of burrata, it doesn’t really beg delicate civility, you need to spoon, scoop, squash, mop, push the soft flesh of the pouch and the unruly, long, cream soaked curds into somekind of order.

Back to lunch.

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The tomato paste by the way was just some of the sun dried tomatoes we bought in Sicily which I stuffed in a jar and then covered with extra virgin olive oil for a month or so. I just tipped the whole contents of the jar – oil and all – in the blender and pulsed a few times for a rough and tumble paste which is also really good for a quick quick supper.

So no recipe but you get the idea I hope.

I finished the crossword by the way and for the first time in ages felt quite content, burrata will do that to you.

17 Comments

Filed under cheese, food, Rachel's Diary

17 responses to “Burrata for lunch.

  1. It’s all just so perfect! Burrata is so so satisfying. I’m a huge fan of anything with a filling, especially a creamy, curdy filling.

    When can I come for lunch;)

    • rachel

      chelsea
      Lunch anytime, really really, just come to Rome. We start with burrata and then can make those chickpea fries and your spaghetti with tomato vinaigrette and breadcrumbs.

  2. Food transports the soul. What an amazing trip. No recipe required.

  3. elenagold

    just discovered your blog and I love it very much. please keep cooking and writing! i’d love to hear your other favorite solo lunches too. made your pasta e ceci and was perfect and delicious. love from portland oregon. :)

    • rachel

      Elena
      Some of my solitary lunches might look silly as posts – we are talking eggs on toast here but there are a couple more I might talk about.
      I am so glad you liked the pasta e ceci beacuse thats what this is all about isn’t it, sharing ideas, thoughts and then making ourselves really good food.
      thankyou for your nice words by the way x

  4. elp

    I wanna know what the other 6 solo lunches are!

  5. Rachel

    Oh lordy, that looks so good……….. Just finished reading about burrata through Orangette, so I was super excited to see you’d posted too! Annoyed that when I lived in Italy for a year I didn’t manage to cotton onto this delicious stuff. LOVE the blog by the way :) speaking of pasta e ceci, I made a version for lunch the other day with fusilli, chickpeas and lots and lots of chilli. Perfetto!
    Rach, Hants x

    • rachel

      rach in hants..I was here a couple of years here before I discovered the joys of burrata.
      Now you see I am thinking burrata as antipasti and then pasta e ceci (with fussili = nice) to follow could well be a perfect meal.

  6. Goodness… I am too hungry to write much more. I need your plate. That pool of olive oil surrounding it all, well, it’s just too much.

  7. I love these kind of lunches. I’ve never heard of burrata before. That lunch looks so simple yet so satisfying!

  8. Rachel,
    Another perfect lunch. When eating alone I, too, love to include cheese.

  9. Mm. Food of the gods. I’ve been known to make a dinner of it, too.

  10. This looks absolutely and utterly divine. I just want to eat every drop that is on that plate and soak up all the oil too. In Sydney, the Italian produce we get is not as good as it takes a lot longer to ship over, so even imported mozarella is not the same as it is not ‘fresh’, or is frozen…………..this puts the crappy simple salad I had for dinner to shame

  11. don’t get me started on my obsession w/ this cheese. i once ate it on a park bench in bologna with nothing but my fingers and a knife we stole from somewhere. i ate it like an apple and was happy to let the juice get all over my face! i did learn my lesson though – bring napkins!

  12. What a relaxing and lovely way to spend a solitary lunch!

  13. I find solitary lunches either end up plain and almost purely functional, or highly experimental, or utterly indulgent. I think this qualifies as the latter.

    (and I’m keeping my eyes open for burrata here..)

  14. Allison Arevalo

    Rachel, I so hope we one day get to share a meal. Everything about your food is just so perfect. I love Buratta, and found a place close to home that makes it – but it’s nice to know it originates from Puglia, which is where my family is from ( and some still live, in Santo Spirito).

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