To Better Incorporate Hard Cheese In Pasta, Add A Slice Of American

There are literally over a thousand types of cheese in the world, from the renowned parmesan cheese to the luxurious buffalo mozzarella, and all of them are delicious. These cheeses each have their quirks though — in particular, hard cheeses are not great sports when it comes to melting. This is why, when you toss your favorite aged cheddar into some noodles to make cheesy pasta, you are more than likely to end up with a lumpy, grainy mess. However, we have the solution to getting these cheeses to play nice in your pasta pot: adding American cheese.

Hard cheeses can struggle to melt into the luscious, creamy texture we expect because of their low moisture content. Due to this lack of moisture, the structure of the proteins in the cheese is very different from that of melty cheeses like raclette, and it reacts to heat in an entirely different way. This is where American cheese comes in to save the day. American slices are different from traditional cheeses. It is actually a combination of several other cheeses, along with milk and emulsifiers. The emulsifiers are key because they are what makes American cheese melt into that stretchy, dreamy texture that we know and love. When combined with hard cheese, the emulsifiers work on them, too, meaning that introducing even just a little American cheese to the party will have your otherwise uncooperative ingredients melting to perfection.

When to add American cheese to your pasta

The best way to use this technique is by combining your desired cheeses into a sauce, allowing them to melt, and then introducing the sauce to the pasta. This way all of the cheeses can fully incorporate without getting stuck on stray noodles. Use any cheese sauce and add in whichever varieties you wish, along with a slice of American to get the melting started. For larger batches, you may need another slice or two — simply add until you get the desired effect.

This technique is great for trying out new cheeses that you normally wouldn't add to pasta. Try adding manchego along with some ham for a Spanish-inspired dish. Sprinkle in some red Leicester for an unparalleled, bright color, or give grana padano a try for a taste of northern Italy. And voilà, you have a creamy sauce with new cheesy flavors to mix in with your favorite type of pasta.