Few things are as visually appealing to me as a good cheese pull. Maximizing the cheese pull is a lofty goal — it’s what separates the great casseroles and baked pastas from the merely ok ones. Shredded cheeses work alright, but bocconcini (aka little balls of fresh mozzarella) are the key to longer, stronger, stretchier cheese pulls.
The little orbs of soft, fresh mozzarella are basically cheese bombs that lie in wait until you set them off with your fork, creating a sort of cheese explosion. They exist somewhere in between a melted cheddar and a processed cheese (like American or Velveeta), and they get all melty and creamy without losing their shape or greasing out, making them the perfect choice for any savoury baked dish that needs a little cheese (which is virtually every savoury baked dish).
Matty Matheson mixes them into the filling of his twice-baked potatoes, which is honestly genius, and I’d recommend tossing them, somewhat haphazardly, into casseroles, hot dishes, baked pastas, and any sort of stuffed vegetables (including but not limited to potatoes). Don’t worry about creating any sort of pattern; think of it like cheesy versions of Minesweeper, except the bombs are delicious little mozzarella balls, and no one ever loses, because the bombs are made of cheese, and it’s much easier to play while high.
If you’re worried about cheese-less pockets bringing down the vibe of your casserole or potato, just sprinkle a different shredded cheese on top as a security blanket (of cheese). Then, when you hit a little cheese-pull grenade, you’ll be in cheese heaven, with double the cheese, double the pull, and double the joy.
This article was originally published in September 2020.