Recipe: Browned Butter, Cheese, and Marinara Covered Spaghetti

Mizithra, Browned Butter, and Marinara
Living in Modesto has many many virtues, as I’m always going on about, but there are some potential drawbacks, and the one that effects me the most is not having access to all the restaurants I liked in Southern California. That place is so chock full of places to eat that you could go for months without eating the same thing twice and never spending more than $20. One place we liked to go occasionally was The Old Spaghetti Factory, and only because it introduced me to Mizithra cheese.

Mizithra is a hard cheese similar in texture to Parmesan, but with the sharp slightly bitter taste similar to feta. I can find it in the deli section of my average grocery store, but it’s easy to find online too. The tart taste of the cheese with the caramel flavor of browned butter is a perfect match, and paired with a marinara sauce it brings a sweet richness to an otherwise simple meal.

Browned Butter, Cheese, and Marinara Spaghetti

1/2 C butter
1/2 C Mizithra cheese, shredded
2 C Marinara sauce
8 oz spaghetti

Boil the pasta in heavily salted water until tender, drain.

Melt the butter in a hot saucepan and give it a shake every once in a while to keep the milk solids from burning. Let it cook until just before it starts to burn. It should be a deep brown and give off a nutty smell.

Spoon the butter over the pasta, being careful to leave the milk solids in the pan. Top with the marinara and cheese and toss well.

I actually prefer to serve this deconstructed. I pass around a bowl of naked pasta, a bowl of marinara, a bowl of butter and a bowl of cheese, and let each guest determine exactly how much of each sauce they want.

You could easily eat this with just the browned butter and cheese and it is still divine. If I need an interesting side dish, that’s how I go. But for a whole meal I like the extra hardiness of a great, thick, marinara sauce. Either way the butter and cheese will add a rich sweetness that you’ll crave more of.