Yum! Who can resist a casserole blanketed in melted cheddar or a pizza that oozes with mozza goodness? The pleasures of cheese are many: salty nuttiness from Parm, mozzarella's milky richness, sharp cheddar's tangy splendor. Cheese is simply a fantastic ingredient, so we made it our mission to develop some smart strategies for delivering full cheese satisfaction in lighter, healthier dishes.
In this first sandwich, we lean on reduced-fat cheddar—but if we leaned on it too much, the filling would have a hard time melting and end up rubbery. So we add cream cheese and a little canola mayo for a gooey, ultracreamy filling with excellent melting properties.
Using a mixer, we beat fat-free ricotta with Parmigiano-Reggiano to make it super-creamy. After spreading this mixture on the crust, we add thin slices of fresh mozzarella that melt on top to give you those yummy cheese pulls you want from your pizza.
Cheesy Nachos with Pinto Bean Salsa and Pickled Jalapeños
We transform reduced-fat cheddar into a creamy, silky, lighter sauce by melting it into evaporated fat-free milk. This technique allows less cheese to cover more chips than using shredded cheddar alone.
Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Cheddar
Instead of using condensed cream soup and processed cheese, we make a luscious white sauce with a touch of Parmesan to bind the casserole, and we use all the cheddar on top. You get a wonderful blanket of gooey cheese atop this pot of comfort.
We stick to part-skim mozzarella for our lasagna and add just a touch of Parm-Regg to the top so its salty flavor is prominent. In the filling, we use fat-free ricotta but stir in a bit of melted butter to enrich it—it tastes great and still has less fat and sat fat than part-skim ricotta.
Lean part-skim mozzarella gives the sauce a wonderfully creamy texture; sharp cheddar goes on top so the mac looks super-cheesy, and you perceive it as cheesier than—from a fat and calorie stance—it really is. We prefer whole-grain pasta over whole-wheat pasta here; the flavor of the latter is rather strong—sometimes a touch bitter—and would over-whelm the nice garlic notes.
Broiling the eggplant coaxes out a deeper, more complex flavor. We like to keep the antioxidant-packed skin on, but feel free to peel the eggplant before broiling. You can garnish the dish with extra basil leaves.
"Semifreddo" is an Italian term that refers to any number of frozen or chilled desserts. Here we offer a frozen orange-scented mousse made with ricotta cheese. It's worth the effort to search out the best ricotta you can find.