Our version of The Old Spaghetti Factory’s Mizithra Pasta is AMAZING. It is a rich and buttery dish that your whole family will love.
I loved going to The Old Spaghetti Factory as a kid. I loved sitting in the streetcar and getting spumoni ice cream with every meal. The absolute best part of the experience, though, was the Mizithra Pasta. It was buttery and cheesy and I licked the plate clean every time. I love when we can nail down a favorite dish from one of our favorite places. This recipe is very simple – only 3 ingredients – but it is sure to please any dinner crowd.
What is Mizithra Cheese?
Mizithra (sometimes spelled Myzithra) cheese is a Greek cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk. When it is first made, it resembles ricotta cheese, but then it can be salt-dried into a harder cheese. This harder type of Mizithra cheese is considered Greek cuisine’s parmesan cheese and is most commonly used to sprinkle over fresh pasta. The salt drying process gives it a salty flavor that adds so much to this dish!
Where to Find Mizithra Cheese
Finding Mizithra cheese can be a little tricky. I usually have to look in the deli section of the grocery store in their “fancy” cheese display. It can be spelled Mizithra or Myzithra. Most stores sell it by the pound and offer different sized blocks that you can choose from. It is a little pricier of a cheese, but I promise it is so worth it!!
What is Brown Butter?
You might be thinking “What is brown butter? I’ve never seen that at the store,” and you’re right! Brown butter is made by cooking regular butter until it turns a lovely brown color. Cooking the butter gives it this incredibly deep flavor that goes well with savory dishes, like this Mizithra Pasta, but also sweet dishes like our Brown Butter Pecan Pie!
How to Make Brown Butter
The most important thing to remember when making brown butter is to cook it over medium heat. You don’t want it to burn!! Start with a light colored pan, so you can see the color of the butter easier. Once the butter melts and gets hot, it will start to foam. I like to pick up the pan and swirl it around a little to help me see the color through the foam. Once the butter turns a deep golden brown, and you start to smell a little bit of a nutty smell – it is ready! Transfer it to a heat-safe dish and let the milk particles sink to the bottom while it cools. Then transfer it to a different bowl, trying to leave most of the solid particles behind. You can also strain it through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
How to Make Mizithra Pasta
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain.
- While pasta is cooking, start slowly melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until golden brown. The butter will foam up and rise, but just keep stirring until it turns brown.
- Remove pan from heat and pour melted butter into a tempered glass bowl or measuring bowl. Allow the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bowl for a few minutes.
- Do not stir up the sediments in the pan, you want the clear butter separated from the sediment at the bottom.
- Pour the browned butter into a separate bowl, again, keeping the butter separated from the sediment.
- Toss the pasta with the butter when it is ready.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of Mizithra cheese. Stir the remaining cheese into the butter coated pasta.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Garnish with sliced fresh basil (optional).
- Serve immediately.