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Burrata with Prosciutto: A Delightful Italian Antipasto

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Burrata with prosciutto is a quintessential Italian antipasto that perfectly embodies the balance of flavors and textures found in Italian cuisine. This elegant and simple dish features creamy burrata cheese paired with savory, thinly sliced prosciutto, often accompanied by fresh tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of high-quality olive oil. In this article, we will delve into the origins of burrata and prosciutto, explore their unique qualities, and provide a detailed recipe for creating this delightful appetizer at home.

The Origins of Burrata and Prosciutto

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese that originated in the Apulia region in the early 20th century. Its name, derived from the Italian word “burro,” meaning butter, reflects its rich and buttery texture. Burrata is made from cow’s milk and consists of a solid mozzarella shell filled with stracciatella and cream. The result is a soft, creamy center that oozes out when cut, offering a luxurious and indulgent taste experience.

Prosciutto is a type of dry-cured ham that has been enjoyed in Italy for centuries. The most famous varieties are Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele, both protected by PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status, ensuring they are produced according to traditional methods in specific regions. Prosciutto is made by salting and air-drying pork legs for several months, resulting in a delicate, salty flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The Perfect Pairing

The combination of burrata and prosciutto is a match made in culinary heaven. The creaminess of the burrata complements the salty, savory flavor of the prosciutto, creating a harmonious balance that delights the palate. This pairing is often enhanced with fresh, seasonal ingredients like ripe tomatoes, fragrant basil, and a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Nutritional Benefits

While burrata and prosciutto are indulgent ingredients, they also offer nutritional benefits. Burrata is a good source of calcium and protein, essential for bone health and muscle repair. Prosciutto, when consumed in moderation, provides protein and important vitamins and minerals like iron and B vitamins. Pairing these ingredients with fresh vegetables and olive oil adds a dose of vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats, making this dish a well-rounded option for an appetizer or light meal.

Recipe: Burrata with Prosciutto

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of fresh burrata cheese
  • 4-6 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crusty bread or crostini, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Ingredients:
    • Start by halving the cherry tomatoes and tearing the basil leaves into smaller pieces.
    • Arrange the prosciutto slices on a serving platter, fanning them out for an attractive presentation.
  2. Assemble the Dish:
    • Place the ball of burrata cheese in the center of the platter.
    • Scatter the halved cherry tomatoes around the burrata, mixing in the torn basil leaves for color and flavor.
  3. Season and Drizzle:
    • Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil generously over the burrata, tomatoes, and prosciutto.
    • Season with a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
    • If desired, add a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a touch of sweetness and acidity that complements the dish.
  4. Serve:
    • Serve the burrata with prosciutto immediately, accompanied by slices of crusty bread or crostini. Encourage guests to tear into the burrata, spreading the creamy center onto the bread and pairing it with the prosciutto and tomatoes.

Tips for Perfect Burrata with Prosciutto

  • Quality Ingredients: Since this dish relies on a few simple ingredients, using the highest quality products is essential. Opt for fresh, locally sourced burrata and authentic Italian prosciutto for the best flavor.
  • Room Temperature: Allow the burrata to come to room temperature before serving. This enhances its creamy texture and flavor.
  • Seasonal Additions: Customize the dish with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh figs, arugula, or roasted peppers can add unique flavors and textures.
  • Balsamic Glaze: A drizzle of balsamic glaze can add a sweet and tangy contrast to the rich burrata and salty prosciutto, elevating the overall taste.

Serving Suggestions

Burrata with prosciutto is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a light lunch, or part of a larger antipasto spread. Here are a few serving suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

  • Wine Pairing: This dish pairs beautifully with a crisp, dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or a light, fruity red like Chianti. The acidity and fruitiness of the wine complement the rich and savory flavors of the burrata and prosciutto.
  • Antipasto Platter: Include the burrata and prosciutto as part of a larger antipasto platter with other Italian delicacies like marinated olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and various cheeses.
  • Salad Addition: For a more substantial meal, serve the burrata and prosciutto over a bed of mixed greens with a simple vinaigrette. Add toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan for extra flavor and texture.

Conclusion

Burrata with prosciutto is a classic Italian antipasto that showcases the beauty of simple, high-quality ingredients. The creamy burrata, savory prosciutto, and fresh tomatoes and basil create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that is both elegant and satisfying. By following this recipe and using the best ingredients available, you can bring a taste of Italy to your table and impress your guests with this delightful and easy-to-prepare dish. Whether enjoyed as an appetizer, light meal, or part of a larger spread, burrata with prosciutto is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Buon appetito!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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