Mizithra and Browned Butter Orzo


One of my favorite dishes of all time is from The Old Spaghetti Factory.  When I was younger my family used to joke that I should own or franchise a location.  I just love their Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter Spaghetti.  There is something about that cheese and browned butter together that makes me swoon.  Especially when you add a crisp salad with house Creamy Pesto dressing and a scoop of their own spumoni ice cream for dessert.  The best spumoni you will ever find.  Which brings me to tonight’s dinner, Mizithra and Browned Butter Orzo.  I saw the recipe in an issue of Fine Cooking and was immediately taken back to The Old Spaghetti Factory.  Of course their original recipe calls for plain old Parmesan, but I’ve spiced it up with some Mizithra and a couple of yummy toppings.  For dinner, I paired it with some spicy mango chicken sausages  from Aidells and garlic green beans.

The big adventure in the recipe came from the Mizithra cheese.  The last time I used Mizithra (about 4-5 years ago) it was pretty easy to find pre-grated or in wedges.  Today however was a little more difficult.  After going to four stores myself and sending my wonderful Mom to one by her house I came up empty-handed.  My last attempt was Whole Foods.  If anyone has something unique, it’s them.  Well there are two here in town and obviously I went to the one close to our house.  Sadly the woman told me they didn’t have any but she was willing to call the one downtown to ask.  Low and behold they had it, and thankfully my awesome husband works only minutes away and took 15 minutes at the end of his busy day to snag it.  Without further ado, time to cook!

Mizithra and Browned Butter Orzo (adapted from Fine Cooking)

  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Mizithra cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tbs diced chives

In a saucepan bring the broth and 1/2 cup of water to a simmer over medium heat.  In a large saute pan cook the butter for two minutes just until golden brown.  Be careful not to burn the butter.  Add the orzo and toss to coat completely with butter.  Continue cooking two minutes.  Add the wine to the orzo and butter.  Stir and cook for one minute.  Add the broth mixture to the orzo and stir.  Reduce heat to low and cover saute pan.  Continue cooking on low for 12 minutes or until orzo is tender.  Remove from heat and stir in the salt, pepper.  Allow it to rest for ten minutes.  While orzo is resting heat a small saute pan on medium-high heat to toast pine nuts.  Stir or toss continually for 2-3 minutes until they start to brown. Mix in Mizithra cheese and granish with toasted pine nuts and chives.  Enjoy!

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