Add Provolone Cheese To Your Lasagna For Enhanced Richness

Lasagna is one of the ultimate Italian comfort foods, featuring layers upon layers of noodles, meat or vegetables in tomato sauce, and various creamy and salty cheeses baked into a convenient one-dish meal. There are countless variations on the classic lasagna recipe, swapping different vegetables, meats, and sauces into this layered pasta dish. Cheese, however, remains the constant decadent glue that holds it together. Ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan are the usual cheesy trifecta, but you can enhance your lasagna's richness with provolone cheese.

Originating in Southern Italy, provolone is a semi-hard aged cow's milk cheese with two different varieties based on the duration of their aging: dolce (sweet) and piccante (sharp, or spicy). As its name implies, provolone dolce is soft, sweet, buttery, and mild, while provolone piccante is stronger, with a sharper, slightly nutty taste and a firmer texture. You can also find both varieties smoked.

Provolone slices, shreds, and melts easily, making appearances on cheese plates and Italian-inspired sandwiches, and offering that classic cheesy stretch on pasta and pizza. So it pairs wonderfully with the wide range of sauces, meats, and vegetables you might use in lasagna. If you're out of mozzarella, provolone is an adequate substitute. However, you can easily incorporate provolone into the original lasagna recipe in addition to the standard cheese types.

Mozzarella and ricotta are semi-soft and soft fresh cheeses with mild and creamy profiles, while parmesan is hard and salty. Adding provolone brings nuanced nutty, sweet, and smoky notes to elevate your lasagna.

How to add provolone to lasagna

You have various options when it comes to adding provolone to lasagna, and many depend on the type of lasagna you plan on making. You can use provolone instead of mozzarella as the melty, bubbly top layer. You can create a half-and-half mix of mozzarella and provolone to shred into the ricotta mixture. Cheese lovers can use provolone to make a four-cheese lasagna so you don't have to divide ingredients or swap one cheese for another.

Provolone is a fantastic friend of cured ham, ground meat, and tomatoes, as evidenced by the classic Muffuletta and the meatball sub, so it will taste delicious combined with the traditional tomato-based bolognese sauce lasagna. For more exotic renditions of lasagna, smoked provolone dolce would make a richer substitute for mozzarella to use along with feta in a spicy, buffalo chicken lasagna.

If you're making a white lasagna with ground sausage and ricotta, you can melt shredded provolone into the béchamel sauce. It would add a smoky sweetness to complement the savory and aromatic Italian fennel sausage. The nuttiness of provolone piccante would also favor a vegetarian pesto lasagna, where you could use it in a béchamel sauce to smother over a layer of pesto-infused ricotta and spinach between the pasta sheets.