Friday, April 17, 2009

Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter Spaghetti

When my brothers and I were little, my dad and Elaine used to take us chichinos (our tias gave us that nickname) to the Old Spaghetti Factory on special occasions. It was probably one of our favorite places to go, next to Disneyland and IHOP. We LOVED going there and I think my brothers, Tom & Bobby, look forward to playing the Pac-Man video game they had in the lounge.

Then a few years ago this landmark restaurant was closed to make room for fancy schmanzy restaurants and high-end hotels. But luckily this year OSF re-opened (I'm thinking the economy had something to do with it). The restaurant is half the size it used to be; the charm it used to have is gone, and Pac-Man is no where to be found. But at least we have an affordable restaurant back in downtown SD. This dish is one of OSF's signature dishes. The secret is being patient in browning the butter and of course in using this wonderful Greek cheese, mizithra.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 4 oz. butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Mizithra cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

First, cook your pasta in a large bowl of salted water. Cook according to package directions.

Cut 1 stick of butter into 4 pieces and place in a sauce pan. Place the pan on a burner on medium heat. Bring butter to a slow boil (about 5 minutes).

Once the butter begins to boil, stir constantly to prevent residue from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As the butter cooks, it will start to foam and rise. With a spoon remove as much foam as you can by lightly skimming it off.

Once most foam is removed, cook until amber in color (about 1 to 2 minutes). It will have a pleasant caramel aroma. Turn off the heat and remove pan from burner. Let the sediment settle to the bottom of the pan for a few minutes.

Pour the brown butter through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Do not disturb the residue at the bottom of the pan.

Drain pasta and divide into two servings. Spread 1/4 cup of Mizithra over each pasta serving. Top with 1/4 cup of hot brown butter. Sprinkle chopped parsley and enjoy!

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