One of our favorite spaghetti joints is the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Phoenix. The prices are great and the food is tasty! I feel in love with their browned butter and mizithra cheese dish many many years ago. It just has such a unique flavor. It never occurred to me to try to make the dish until our last visit about six months ago.
Mizithra cheese is traditionally a raw/unpasteurized Greek cheese made from either sheep or goats milk. Trust me…this dish is good. I’ve found grated mizithra cheese at Sprouts (a health food store), but I’ve also heard that you can get it in block form at Whole Foods, but it looks like you can get it here too.
The cheese sort of reminds me of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but the browned butter provides a nice nutty flavor. The two go together nicely.
Pasta with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup mizithra cheese, grated
1/2 pkg spaghetti (I used a whole wheat pasta)
1. Prepare pot to boil spaghetti. Cook spaghetti as you normally would.
2. Chop up butter into smaller pieces (like 8 or so). Put into a sauce pan and allow to melt over medium heat. Once melted, turn up heat to about med-high and allow to start a small boil. Continue to stir so that the butter solids don’t stick or burn on the bottom (burnt butter is not tasty). Continue stirring. The butter will start to foam up, keep stirring gently making sure the solids aren’t sticking to the bottom and so it doesn’t boil over. After 5-10 minutes, the butter will start to turn a nice caramel color and will start to smell fragrant (it has a very nutty smell and taste when browned).
3. Be very careful, not to allow the butter to burn (it can go from brown to burnt very quickly). This sounds hard, but it’s not really….I promise.
4. Spoon cooked and drained noodles into 4 bowls. Top each one with about 1/3-1/4 cup cheese and 1/8-1/3 cup browned butter. Gently toss to combine.