Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese
Do any of you have a favorite dish at certain restaurants that you get every time you go there? I definitely do! Its not that it's the only thing good on the menu, because I'm sure there are plenty of other good things. It is just that I love that one thing so much I just can't bare to get anything that I might not enjoy as much. Well this is one of those things for me. The Old Spaghetti Factory serves this dish. I have always loved it. It really is the only thing I get when I go there (and I have been going there for years). I love it because it is simple AND has amazing flavor. Well one day some friends and I were discussing this dish and we decided that it couldn't be hard to make. We then went out to see if our local grocery stores carried mizithra cheese. We were so excited when we found out that it did. In case you have never heard of this type of cheese here an excerpt taken from Wikipedia:
Mizithra (Greek: Μυζήθρα) is a traditional, unpasteurized fresh cheese made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. It is, mainly, produced on the island of Crete but other areas in Greece also produce it. In Cyprus a similar cheese is known in both types (fresh or dry) as "Anari" (Αναρή in Greek, Nor in Turkish).
I have since been able to find this cheese at most of my local grocery stores. You can usually find it in the specialty cheese section. It is definitely more expensive than your more common cheeses, but oh so worth it on this dish! This dish is so simple to make! I love that I can throw it together in less than 20 minutes and feel like I'm eating at a delicious restaurant.
Spaghetti With Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese
8 oz spaghetti pasta
1 cube butter
1-2 cups mizithra cheese
Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook pasta per package directions until tender. While pasta is cooking place butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook slowly stirring frequently. Butter will bubble up and then begin to turn a nice brown color. You will start to see brown flecks in the butter. This is where the butter gets its flavor. Browning the butter often takes about 5-10 minutes of cooking time so be patient, but watch butter carefully. Once it has started browning if you are not careful it can burn very quickly. Once it is browned remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. Drain pasta. Place desired amount of pasta on a plate. Sprinkle generously with mizithra cheese. Pour approximately 2 tbs browned butter over pasta. Enjoy!
Note: I'm sure the restaurant uses even more butter than this on their dish. Feel free to use as much or as little butter as you want. The browned butter is an amazing compliment of flavors to the cheese so I usually tend to use a little more rather than less.