Sunday, March 13, 2005

Spaghetti with Myzithra Cheese

I created this recipe at Greg's request for his friend Jim. They both love, love, love it, which is sort of a mystery to me. I find it a bit plain. It is deceptively rich but simple and salty.

Aged Myzithra Cheese is a hard white Greek cheese made from sheep's milk that grates up really well. I have only found it at Whole Foods and specialty Greek or mediterranean markets - you won't see it at Albertson's next to the American singles and chalky low-fat cheddar.

The dish is pretty easy to make and gives you the fun of saying "Myzithra," which is a cool-sounding word.

I was too busy cooking to take a photo. C'est la vie. Greg, who is always telling me to cook healthy, bought a wedge of St. Andre Triple Creme brie, an olive bread, and huge red grapes for an appetizer. Go figure. I didn't have the strength to discourage him because the St. Andre is one of my favorite cheeses.

I made a lovely light carrot-potato soup too, with a few leftover green beans and a bit of white corn to give some visual appeal.

Spaghetti with Myzithra Cheese at its most simple
1 lb good spaghetti.
Note: The good kind of pasta isn't bright gold and almost shiny - the good kind looks a little rough and dusty and will definitely set you back more than 69 cents a pound. Latini runs about $4.69. Sinful, I know. But it is worth it. The difference is the little roughness captures more of the sauce on the pasta, giving it a better flavor. Honest. I justify it by saying "At least we're not eating out. That is the same way my friend Coco justified hiring a personal chef – "It's less than eating out all the time." Yeah, if you eat at those kinds of places Coco eats. Gotta love that girl.
4 to 6 Tbsp unsalted butter depending on how much sauce you like
1 1/2 cups grated myzithra cheese using the smallest holes on the grater (about 1/3 lb)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water.

Heat the butter over medium heat until it turns a nice golden brown color, about 8 minutes. Remove it from the heat. Drain spaghetti, pour butter over, toss in some myzithra and parsley. Stir & serve.

Greg's Version
Cook some mushrooms in the butter while you are browning it. Add some finely chopped cooked broccoli and finely sliced green onion while you are tossing the pasta with the myzithra.


Suebob said...

Thanks for your advice. I can use all I can get.

Pat Saperstein said...

I found this dish at the most unlikely place ever. I was stuck in the ungodly town of Needles, Calif. for the night, and the only restaurant open was a dubious looking pizza parlor. To my surprise, the only other dish besides pizza was spaghetti with myzithra cheese, which I had never seen before. It was tasty, although drenched in oil. I'll have to try your version.