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Good melting cheese for pasta? Suggestions?

Other than mozzarella, what other suggestions do you have for good melting cheese to use with pasta with mixed vegetables?

Would your suggestion work equally well with regular pasta verses whole wheat pasta?


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  1. Gorgonzola is our favorite.

    1. Fontina.
      smoked gouda.

      When i want melted cheese in a pasta, i like to mix one creamier cheese (like the fontina) and a sharper cheese (like pecorino)

      1. Provolone- a younger, milder one, grated right over the hot pasta. I don't see why it would be different with whole wheat vs. regular pasta, though... are you thinking that you need something stronger to hold up to the more pronounced grain flavour of the whole wheat pasta?

        3 Replies
        1. re: sfumato


          Thanks for your cheese idea. I just wanted to make sure the flavors of the cheese weren't overwhelming if I used whole wheat pasta.

          I'm trying to eat healthier and want to use whole wheat pasta more often. It seems sweeter to me than regular pasta. I've liked it with vegetables but I'm not sure I will like it with meats.

          I'll try your provolone idea. Thank you.

          And I think your idea of just grating the cheese and then putting it over the hot pasta might be a good idea rather than trying to actually "cook" the cheese in the pasta. Think the texture of the dish may come out better that way.

          1. re: bearzie

            Understood! Then I'd definitely go with a young provolone. The aged ones are great, but they can be pretty sharp.

            Fontina, parmesan, romano... you've got a lot of good, melty suggestions here!

            You're correct- you'll get a nice melted texture if you toss the grated cheese in the just-cooked pasta- I highly recommend that technique! Let us know how it all turns out!

            1. re: bearzie

              Well, if you're trying to eat healthier, just toss fresh chevre in with the hot pasta; melts and makes its own sauce. The slight slatiness works well with the nutty sweetness of the ww pasta.

          2. I've tried and really like brie mixed in with garlic, tomatoes, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts.

            1. I second the fontina and romano or parmesan (or both) combo. It's what I use on my homemade pizza, both oven-baked and grilled. It melts beautifully, has a mild, nutty flavor, and pairs beautifully with the sharper hard cheeses.

              To grate it, make sure you put it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm it up.

              1. for mac and cheese i use a mix of fontina and american. perfect for my pedestrian american palate.

                1 Reply
                1. re: beelzebozo

                  goats cheese or an aged cheddar mmmm....

                  1. If you are in a big metropolis, or can source it on the web, for something really unique try Yak's milk cheese, its healthy!

                    It is a bit tricky to melt well, but very low heat is key. Yak milk products are decadent - if White Truffles were Mammals, they would indeed be Yaks

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: malabargold

                      We tried yak cheese once (at Whole Foods, when the Dalai Lama was in town), and we both agreed that it tasted like a wet, woolly, dirty yak. I love strong cheese, but it really wasn't for me. Is it possible that it was a well-aged version and I might like a younger one better?

                    2. i don't know if this is the sort of thing you're looking for, but i really enjoy mixing ricotta (straight from the fridge even) into pasta with tomatoes, spinach, onion, garlic, whatever you usually add to a veggie pasta arrangement. i also throw in crushed red pepper flakes because the ricotta alone can sometimes be too soft a taste.

                      it's soft, and creamy without being heavy. i especially love it for spring/summer dinners because it lets you really taste the fresh vegetables after a winter of canned/unseasonal options.

                      1. although you asked for something different,smoked mozzarella works very nice,especially with whole wheat pasta.i thought i'd throw that in since it's pretty different than the standard stuff.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: davmar77

                          Davmar77, That's funny that you suggested smoked mozzarella. The day before I posted this question, I had a great pasta dish with veggies and smoked mozzarella with whole wheat spagetti. This made me think of what other cheeses would be good. You could change the pasta, cheeses and veggies and come up with endless variations.

                          Please keep your ideas coming. Thanks.

                        2. I've been reading a series of detective novels set in Sicily written by Andrea Camilleri and other than the main topic an underlying theme is what and where the detective has his lunch and dinner. One of the items that comes up regularly is his fondness for Cacciacavallo cheese. Has anyone ever heard of or used this cheese? I can't seem to find it in Boston.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            gio, i knew i had heard the cognate: kashkaval. so i wikied it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashkaval
                            wiki sez: The word Kashkaval is derived from Caciocavallo, an Italian provolone-style cheese.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              WOW! Thank you AP.... I must have this cheese.

                              1. re: Gio

                                The most prized version of this cheese is known as Caciocavallo Ragusano. It is one of the most popular table cheeses in Sicily, but here in the States I have seen it only rarely. I more often see caciocavallo from southern mainland Italy.

                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                  And - thank you for that information Vvvindaloo. I appreciate it.
                                  I'm now on a quest.

                          2. The highly-praised mac & cheese at Bern's in Tampa uses asiago, fontina, and truffle oil. I had it 2 weeks ago when I buckled to C'hound pressure to "get it done".
                            Mind you, this is not lobster m&c, it's m&c, for $17. And I hope to do it again!
                            EDIT: It's a huge portion; 3 or 4 could share it.

                            1. Ricotta salata. Just grate it on your hot pasta & the whole thing will be creamy! Yum.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: roxlet

                                I did that for the first time recently and it was wonderful.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  That was my mother's favorite. Her family was originally from salerno, and she would douse pasta with hot pepper flakes and ricotta salata. Most Italians will tell you not to mix hot pepper with cheese, as you are not supposed to mix fish with cheese, but there are always exceptions. What are the exceptions? The things that taste good to you though I must say that seeing people put cheese on clam sauce pasta or other fish pasta always looks nauseating to me!

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    I think I tossed the pasta in some heated olive oil in which I'd heated a garlic clove and hot pepper flakes, then tossed in a bowl w/ the ricotta - a quick and easy dinner.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      I neglected to say that she would add these things to pasta with tomato sauce. Though aglio olio was a staple, she never added cheese to that. With aglio olio and pasta con le sarde she would add breadcrumbs that had been toasted in a frying pan with a little olive oil.

                              2. IMO mozarella is one of the worst cheese to use because it gets very stringy when melted, then rubbery.

                                I use all kinds of cheeses, most of which were mentioned. Asiago is one of my favorites.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  I love mozzarella in pasta - I usually cube it and add it right at the end. I saw something on ATK about freezing it briefly, and that this helps w/ the melting.

                                2. Fontina is really nice but it kinda depends on your application.
                                  To me, there's not much better than the baked top of a lasagna which has about a 1/4 inch of parm. Baked parm is great.