|Country of origin||Italy|
|Source of milk||Cow|
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Mascarpone (, , Italian: [maskar'po:ne]) is an Italian soft cheese made from cream and resembling cream cheese, that is coagulated by the addition of acidic substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid. It is recognized in Italy as a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (PAT) ("traditional agri-food product").
The traditional method is to use lemon juice at the rate of three tablespoons per pint of heated heavy cream. The cream is allowed to cool to room temperature before it is poured into a cheese cloth-lined colander, set into a shallow pan or dish, and chilled and strained for one to two days.
Mascarpone originated in the area between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, Italy, southwest of Milan, probably in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Popularly, the name is held to derive from mascarpa, an unrelated milk product made from the whey of stracchino (a young, barely aged cheese), or from mascarpia, a word in the local dialect for ricotta. Ricotta, unlike mascarpone, is made from milk rather than cream.
Mascarpone is one of the main ingredients in the modern Italian dessert known as tiramisu. Sometimes it is used instead of, or along with, butter or Parmesan cheese to thicken and enrich risotto. Mascarpone also is used in cheesecake recipes.