Pronunciation: [PAH-stuh fee-(fih)-LAH-tuh]
Italian for "spun paste," pasta filata refers to the stretched-curd cheeses made famous in Italy, such as mozzarella, provolone and caciocavallo. Such cheeses are made using a special technique whereby the curd is given a hot whey bath, then kneaded and stretched to the desired pliable consistency. At this point, the cheese can be formed into the desired shape, which can range from a simple ball to a braid. Such cheeses are also called plastic-curd, pulled-curd, spun curd and stretched-curd.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.