Scamorza is an Italian, spun paste cow’s milk cheese belonging to the pasta filata family. Shaped similar to a provolone in pear shape, it is available in many other forms as well. A semi-soft white cheese with a texture comparable to that of a firm, dry Mozzarella, Scamorza is made throughout Apulia and in some parts of Campania and Molise.
The cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk or from a mixture of cow and sheep milk. At the end of the cheese making process, which is akin to Mozzarella, the cheeses are hanged together in strings to ripen for about two weeks. The process of ripening the cheese has given Scamorza its name, which in southern Italy means ‘beheaded’.
After two weeks of ripening, the cheese is sold as it is or smoked. The smoked variant, called ‘Scamorzi Affumicate’ is made by smoking the cheese over flaming straw for around 10 to 15 minutes. A fresh version of Scamorza is also sold within a few days of production.
The texture of Scamorza is elastic, stringy and has less moisture than Mozzarella. In addition, the flavor is more piquant, milky and creamy. Smoked Scamorza has a subtle, smoky flavor with a sweet, light caramel note.
Scamorza is used as a substitute for Mozzarella as it imparts more interest in the recipe. Since Scamorza has excellent melting qualities, it is best known to flavor baking dishes, for griddling or topped with prosciutto for extra zest. The smoky flavor of Scamorza pairs well with oak-aged Chardonnay, Pinot Girgio or Orvieto.