Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spaghetti with Mizithra and Brown Butter Sauce for Two

When my husband and I lived in Nashville as newlyweds, there was a restaurant in the downtown area called Old Spaghetti Factory.  (Might still be there, but we haven't lived in Nashville for 8 years now).  Old Spaghetti Factory was good and cheap and in a fairly popular area to see and be seen on weekend nights.  For broke newlyweds, it was a perfect place to go and feel part of the scene.

I bounced around the menu, mostly settling on the spaghetti with mushroom sauce.  My husband discovered spaghetti with mizithra and browned butter.  The restaurant claims Homer lived on this while writing the Iliad.  I can't find anything that supports this claim.

Mizithra is a hard sheep's milk cheese, similar in texture to Parmesan. It's not as nutty, though, with a creamier, drier flavor. If you can't find it (check specialty cheese shops, Whole Foods, or The Fresh Market), you can use Parmesan or another hard cheese.

This is more method than recipe.

To make the brown butter sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add half a stick of butter. Let the butter melt and foam up, watching it carefully and stirring frequently.

You want the butter to turn an amber brown color and start to smell toasty. I think it smells just like buttered toast when it's done. Be careful not to let it burn, as it will taste bitter.

To serve 2 people, put a serving of cooked spaghetti in a pasta bowl or on a plate, spoon half the butter sauce over the spaghetti and immediately sprinkle with mizithra. We serve this with a green salad and french bread on the side.

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