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Baked scamorza

Updated: Thu, 15 July, 2021

Baked scamorza with garlic bruschetta - it does have a nicer ring to it than Italian cheese on toast. But that's really what it is.

baked scamorza

What is scamorza?

Scamorza is strangled mozzarella. It’s nowhere near as popular in the UK as its non-strangled sister, though significantly easier to spell correctly – no confusing double consonants. Mozarrela? Mozzarrella? I admit I have to make an effort to remember it's double 'z' and 'l' but a single 'r'. Mozzarella.

But 'scamorza' is quite a difficult word to remember, a cross between ‘camorra’ and ‘Scaramouche’. It always sounds to my ears like a mild swearword: 'oh scamorza! I cut myself!'

scamorza bake

How is scamorza made?

A pat of mozzarella is strangled and hung out to dry after shaping. It takes on the appearance of a gigantic belly button or a stump of an amputated limb – it does look quite gross in my opinion.

The hanging and drying lets it develop a lovely skin or rind, which is usually the best bit of any cheese. Also in my humble opinion. But then I greedily nibble Parmesan rind after grating.

The drying process takes about two weeks. Then the cheese may be lightly smoked thus making scamorza affumicata (smoked), hardening the skin and deepening the flavour.


How to use scamorza in cooking?

Scamorza can be used wherever you’d use mozzarella and complain that it’s watery/not stringy enough/bland. I actually think a mix of scamorza and mozzarella is the perfect pizza topping.

Scamorza also has the advantage of lasting much longer, wrapped in parchment, in the fridge: long after mozzarella has gone all manky and off, scamorza is still good to eat. Thanks to being drier, obviously.

But the best use of scamorza is in a posh version of cheese on toast: baked scamorza with garlic bruschetta.

baked scamorza appetizer

And what is bruschetta then?

Bruschetta is a grilled slice of bread, usually rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. It’s awkward to pronounce: instead of the expected by an Anglo-Saxon ‘broo-shetta’ it has an explosive ‘SK’ in the middle: ‘broo-sketta’ is the correct, though rarely heard outside Italy, pronunciation.

May I confuse you a little here? Do not mistake Italian bruschetta with the Spanish brocheta!

The latter has nothing to do with bread, grilled or otherwise, as it means 'skewer' and is annoyingly pronounced: 'bro-chetta'. So don't expect a grilled chicken sandwich if you order brocheta de pollo in a tapas restaurant: skewers of chicken dangling decoratively from metal holders will arrive.

Cheese on toast!

Baked scamorza with bruschetta then is nothing other than posh Italian cheese on toast. It’s completely delightful and very much worth the semantic and phonetic challenges.

I like to bake it in small individual dishes or mini frying pans. It doesn't take more than ten minutes to bake and you can toast your bruschetta in the same oven, at the same time.

Thyme leaves and a few seeds make it a special meal, much nicer than scoffing Cheddar on Hovis white (IMHO). Hope you agree once you've tried!

Baked scamorza

Servings: 2Time: 20 minutes


  • 200g (6oz.) scamorza (aged mozzarella)
  • two sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 day-old ciabatta or small sourdough loaf
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • For the rocket salad:
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 250g (2 cups) rocket leaves
  • salt
  • a drizzle of honey
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ lemon


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Toast the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan until golden. Prepare two individual ovenproof dishes. Slice the scamorza thickly and divide between the dishes, sprinkle the thyme leaves over the cheese.

toasted seeds

2. Slice the bread and brush each slice with olive oil. Rub the garlic over each slice and place them on a baking tray. Transfer to the top rack in the oven while you place the dishes with scamorza on a lower one. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bruschettas are toasted and the scamorza bubbling and coloured.


3. In the meantime sprinkle a pinch of salt over the rocket, drizzle with honey and oil and squeeze half the lemon over it. Toss the leaves in the dressing using your hands. Sprinkle with half the toasted seeds.

4. Remove the bruschetta and the scamorza from the oven, sprinkle some toasted seeds over the cheese and serve immediately.

Originally published: Wed, 23 May, 2018

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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