CARAMELIZED BACON
OUR GREEK SALAD

SPAGHETTINI with BROWNED BUTTER & MIZITHRA CHEESE

Mamma Mia!  Perfectly al dente pasta tossed with sinfully rich, nutty, browned butter and slightly robust Mizithra cheese.  A true Old Spaghetti Factory classic.

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Mizithra is a traditional Greek whey cheese that has been enjoyed in Greece for thousands of years.  Mizithra is manufactured from milk and whey derived from sheep, goats, or cows, or mixtures of these milks, in many regions of Greece, including Aegean and Crete Islands.

The Old Spaghetti Factory imports over 200,000 pounds of Mizithra cheese a year.  And their spaghetti with Mizithra cheese and browned butter has remained the most popular dish since opening in 1969.

I haven't been back to the Old Spaghetti Factory for years now, but I surely remember the pure satisfaction of diving into an order of this cheese speckled, buttery repast, more often than not, now making it even more fun to prepare at home.

Like many of the most delectable Italian dishes, the preparation here is simple, straightforward.  The results, for those so inclined, damn good.

Many versions of this recipe strain the nutty, browned bits out of the butter before serving.  To that we say, no, no, no, those bits deliver quite the heavenly little flavour boost.  Leave them be, they'll make your tastebuds say, "Hello dahlink".

I've also found that adding a tich of Pecorino Romano cheese to the mix, just seems to bring the textures and flavours together, all happy, happy.

And no matter what, please pass the pepper mill to one and all partaking of these buttery, cheesy twirls of noodles, 'cuz freshly ground black pepper and Spaghettini with Browned Butter & Mizithra Cheese are a bit of a magical merger.

That said, pepper or not, these very few, basic, quality ingredients lovingly combined are a magical merger themselves, and just kind of a groovy dish to make.  Godere!

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I wasn't going to mention it, because, um, er, well, I just wasn't.  But apparently I can't stop myself.  There's this person, who shall remain unnamed, who after enjoying the first half of her bowl of spaghettini sometimes has the audacity to add a wallop or two of ketchup to the remaining noodles.  Ketchup?  Geez!!!  

But, rumour has it, that somehow because of the very nature of this dish (all that nutty butter and cheese!) the ketchup transforms and totally amps up the deliciousness factor. (like some secret chef-y condiment)  Who woulda' thunk, eh?  Hmmm.....Maybe, just maybe, I might have to cave in one day and go for the Heinz.

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SPAGHETTINI with BROWNED BUTTER & MIZITHRA CHEESE - 4 Servings

1 pound spaghettini
1 cup butter
1 cup good quality Mizithra cheese, grated
1/3 cup good quality Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter on medium high heat in small saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium, allowing butter to foam and 'fry', whisking Mizbutteroccasionally to cut the foam and keep the browned bits that form on the bottom, from burning.  As the butter cooks it will transform from creamy yellow to golden brown. 

Watch carefully at this point, whisking occasionally until butter smells nutty and sweet and is a dark golden brown.  Remove from heat.

When you are ready, boil spaghettini to al dente, drain and return to pot.  While pasta is boiling combine the cheeses.  Now, add browned butter to cooked spaghettini and toss to evenly coat.  Add cheeses and a couple of grinds of black pepper and toss again.  Serve immediately with extra cheese, ketchup, and cracked black pepper. 

Mangia, mangia!

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Pasta

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