Italian pizza is known for its simple yet delicious combination of crust, sauce, and cheese.
While each ingredient is important, the cheese is arguably the star of the show.
The right cheese can make or break a pizza, and with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one.
In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best cheeses for Italian pizza, as well as 7 alternative cheeses for those who want to mix things up.
Whether you’re a fan of classic Margherita or prefer more adventurous toppings, the right cheese can take your pizza to the next level.
So, let’s dive in and discover the perfect cheese for your Italian pizza!
How To Pick The Right Cheese for Italian Pizza
Choosing the right cheese for Italian pizza is crucial to achieving the perfect flavor and texture. Here are some factors to consider when selecting cheese for your pizza:
- Texture: The texture of the cheese is an important factor to consider. You want a cheese that will melt evenly and create a creamy, stringy consistency. Cheeses that are too soft or too hard may not melt properly and can result in a lumpy, uneven pizza.
- Flavor: The flavor of the cheese should complement the other ingredients on your pizza. For example, a mild cheese like Mozzarella is perfect for a Margherita pizza, while a stronger cheese like Gorgonzola pairs well with bold toppings like spicy sausage or roasted vegetables.
- Meltability: The cheese should melt well in the oven and not burn or become greasy. Cheeses that are too oily or have a high water content may not melt properly and can result in a soggy pizza.
- Authenticity: Consider using traditional Italian cheeses to achieve an authentic flavor. Cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Asiago are commonly used in Italian pizza and can add a unique flavor profile to your pizza.
The 10 Best Cheeses for Italian Pizza
When it comes to Italian pizza, certain cheeses have stood the test of time and are considered the best for achieving that authentic flavor. Here are the top 10 best cheeses for Italian pizza:
- Mozzarella: Perhaps the most popular cheese for Italian pizza, Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese that melts beautifully and has a mild flavor that complements most pizza toppings.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano: This hard cheese is rich and salty, making it perfect for adding depth of flavor to any pizza. Grate it over the top of your pizza before baking for a crispy, golden crust.
- Provolone: With a slightly smoky flavor and a firm, chewy texture, Provolone is a great cheese for adding some depth to your pizza without overpowering the other ingredients.
- Fontina: This nutty, buttery cheese is perfect for adding a rich flavor and creamy texture to your pizza. It melts well and pairs perfectly with mushrooms, prosciutto, and other savory toppings.
- Gorgonzola: If you’re a fan of blue cheese, then Gorgonzola is the perfect choice for your pizza. Its pungent, tangy flavor pairs well with spicy meats like sausage or pepperoni.
- Ricotta: While not traditionally used as a pizza topping, Ricotta can add a creamy, slightly sweet flavor to your pizza. It pairs well with vegetables like spinach or zucchini.
- Asiago: This hard cheese has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with bold pizza toppings like pepperoni or olives. Use it in combination with other cheeses for a complex flavor profile.
- Scamorza: Similar in texture to Mozzarella, Scamorza has a smoky, slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with grilled vegetables or spicy meats.
- Romano: Another hard cheese that adds a salty, slightly sharp flavor to your pizza. Use it in combination with other cheeses for a complex, layered flavor.
- Burrata: This creamy cheese is perfect for adding a decadent texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor to your pizza. Pair it with fresh tomatoes and basil for a classic Margherita pizza.
7 Alternative Cheeses for Italian Pizza
While the 10 best cheeses for Italian pizza are sure to satisfy any pizza lover, there are other options out there that can add a unique flavor to your pizza. Here are 7 alternative cheeses for Italian pizza:
- Pecorino Romano: This hard, salty cheese is made from sheep’s milk and has a sharp, tangy flavor. It pairs well with bold pizza toppings like anchovies, capers, and olives.
- Taleggio: With a soft, creamy texture and a pungent flavor, Taleggio is perfect for adding a strong, savory taste to your pizza. It pairs well with roasted vegetables and cured meats.
- Smoked Gouda: This smoked cheese has a rich, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with meats like ham and bacon. Use it in combination with other cheeses for a complex flavor profile.
- Blue Cheese: Similar to Gorgonzola, blue cheese adds a tangy, pungent flavor to your pizza. It pairs well with grilled chicken or steak.
- Goat Cheese: This tangy, slightly sweet cheese pairs well with vegetables like roasted peppers or eggplant. Use it sparingly as it can be overpowering.
- Burrata affumicata: A smoky version of the classic Burrata, this cheese has a unique flavor and texture that pairs well with grilled vegetables or mushrooms.
- Stracchino: This soft, creamy cheese has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with spicy meats or vegetables. Use it as a base layer under other toppings.
5 Tips for Pairing Cheese with Pizza
Pairing cheese with pizza is a delicate art, and getting it right can take your pizza from good to great. Here are 5 tips for pairing cheese with pizza:
- Balance flavors: Choose a cheese that complements the other ingredients on your pizza. For example, if you have spicy sausage or peppers on your pizza, pair it with a mild cheese like Mozzarella to balance out the heat.
- Experiment with textures: Mixing different textures of cheese can add depth and complexity to your pizza. Try using a combination of soft and hard cheeses, or melted and grated cheeses.
- Use bold cheeses sparingly: Strong cheeses like Gorgonzola or blue cheese can be overpowering, so use them sparingly and pair them with milder cheeses to balance out the flavor.
- Don’t overload the cheese: While it may be tempting to load up your pizza with cheese, too much cheese can make your pizza greasy and heavy. Use just enough cheese to create a creamy, melted texture.
- Get creative: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese combinations and toppings. You never know what delicious flavor profile you might discover!
In conclusion, the right cheese can make all the difference in your Italian pizza. By considering factors like texture, flavor, and meltability, you can choose the best cheese for your pizza.
Whether you prefer classic Mozzarella or want to experiment with alternative cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Taleggio, there are endless options to explore. And by pairing your cheese with the right toppings and experimenting with different flavors and textures, you can create a pizza that is truly unforgettable. So go ahead and get creative – the possibilities are endless!
Remember that when it comes to Italian pizza, the cheese is only one part of the equation. Don’t forget to experiment with different crusts, sauces, and toppings to create a pizza that is truly unique and delicious. And most importantly, have fun with it! Pizza is all about enjoying good food with good company, so don’t be afraid to try new things and enjoy the process.
The 10 Best Cheeses for Italian Pizza
- Select your favorite cheese from this article.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a delicious Italian pizza in 30 minutes or less!