Sinfully simple pasta: Browned butter and mizithra, sort of

When I was growing up and we took a family trip to St. Louis, we always took a trip to the Old Spaghetti Factory. Back then, I had no idea that the Spaghetti Factory was a chain and instead thought it was one of the most enchanting restaurants I’d ever gone to. We usually went to the restaurant before going to something at the Fox Theatre and therefore, I used to think it was a place you had to dress up to visit. I remember waiting in the overly crowded lobby for a table, hoping to grab a seat on the velvet couch hidden in the nook under the stairs when the family hogging it were called back to their table.

Oh how we LOVED the Old Spaghetti Factory!

As an adult, I’ve come to realize that the Spaghetti Factory is a chain and it isn’t necessarily fancy, even though I do fight for my right to dress up when I eat there if I want to. The restaurant is open more hours now than it used to, and my family has stopped in before and after St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball games, meaning we’ve been significantly dressed down. It may not be the wonderland I once thought it was, but I still love this restaurant and recently, I’ve come across a dish there that I absolutely LOVE.

It’s actually probably the most simple pasta dish ever. Cheese, spaghetti, butter. Those are the only ingredients. But who knew that that combo could be so sinfully delicious? Not me!

Last week, I was craving this dish and knew a trip to the Spaghetti Factory wasn’t in the works. So I thought I’d see if I could recreate it. Here’s how it went down:

1. Boil spaghetti as directed on the package.
(The white stuff floating on the top is actually kosher salt. I like to salt my pasta water a little.)

2. Brown butter in a small sauce pan. I used a stick of butter and cooked it on very low heat. When browning butter, you’re supposed to clarify the butter after it melts, which basically means skimming all the solids in the butter off the top. You know that white filmy stuff that comes to the top when you melt butter? That’s what I’m talking about. But to be completely honest, I have NO idea how to do this and fear my attempt was an epic fail. Let your butter brown, meaning watch it carefully and remove it when it starts to take on a caramel color.

3. Toss the cooked pasta with the browned butter.

4. Top with a generous helping of mizithra cheese. (Mizithra is apparently a Greek cheese. You’re going to want the harder, grating kind of Mizithra if you’re able to find it in your local grocery store. I was not and used Pecorino-Romano. It worked fine, but it wasn’t quite the same as Mizithra. Still good, though!)
(It looks deceptively boring, just like plain spaghetti with cheese on top. But it’s not! There’s flavorful browned butter hiding in there!)

Enjoy! This would be amazing with a nice salad and some garlic bread. After eating all that, you might go into a carb coma, but let me tell you, it’s worth it!


3 thoughts on “Sinfully simple pasta: Browned butter and mizithra, sort of”

  1. Ha ha! I’m starting a trend! 🙂

    Hugs to you. I’ve been checking out your new(ish) blog in Google Reader. Glad to see you blogging again! 🙂

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