Spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra

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Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

A simple Greek meal of spaghetti topped with olive oil and mizithra cheese

This is a weird recipe, but it’s one which is perfect to have available when you 1) haven’t done your groceries and so have nothing else to cook, 2) have about 10 minutes to throw dinner on the table, 3) have a houseful of hungry kids to feed, 4) are alone and just need something delicious to fill your belly so you can get on with your day or, 5) would rather be knitting.

Growing up this was a favourite dish.  Actually, every spaghetti dish was welcomed with much enthusiasm.  Part of the reason was because in order to test the pasta for doneness, our mother wouldn’t throw it against the wall to see if it would stick (how barbaric). Instead, she would take a little plate, pluck 2 – 3 spaghettis from the boiling water and mix them with a generous sprinkling of mizithra.

Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

She would then get us to taste them, and WE would be the ones to decide if the spaghetti was done or not.  As soon as we said they were cooked enough, the pot was turned off and the pasta drained.  She still does this, sometimes with our daughters, but sometimes with us, and each time she does we are transported back to our childhood.  Looking back now, this small act spoke volumes.  It represented such caring, such love, such a clear message that we mattered, and that our opinion was valuable. She was cooking primarily for us, her children.  That, or she didn’t want pasta water dripping down her walls.

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Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

Helpful hints

In other recipes we have suggested that if you cannot find mizithra you can substitute grated parmesan or romano cheese.  Unfortunately, that really isn’t the case here.  Given that there are so few ingredients, keeping to the ones actually called for is pretty important.  The good news is that you can find mizithra in most Greek or Mediterranean grocery stores, and you can order it on-line.  Once grated, it will keep fresh in the freezer for a very long time. You can also freeze it whole of course.

The two other star ingredients are the pasta and olive oil.  Although not essential, we use Greek spaghetti.  As for the olive oil, use the best quality Greek olive oil you can find.  Try your best to order or purchase it directly from an olive oil producer or certified distributor.  You will have a better chance of getting pure olive oil and not one of the impostor, adulterated oils which have been uncovered in recent years.

This meal, although delicious, does not contain any vegetables.  If you are concerned about ensuring that all major food groups are represented at each meal, you are a better parent than us.  So, we suggest that you set out a plate of olives (remember they are drupes, and drupes are fruit!), carrots or a simple salad.

Ugh…we can’t in good conscience go on without confessing. We lied.  You of course CAN substitute the mizithra for either grated parmesan or romano cheese if you prefer.  You can even try a different type of pasta, like a penne or linguine.  You could even go so far as to use an Italian olive oil (gasp!).  If you do any of those things however, it won’t be our parents’ recipe.  But it will be your recipe…and it will probably be delicious.

Do you love pasta?! We think you should check these out too:

Zucchini pasta sauce

Pasta with Nea Fytini

Pasta with cherry tomatoes and greens

We love hearing from you!  If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!,  please leave a comment and star rating below! Also be sure to follow along with us, on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.  We have lots of fun over there.

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Spaghetti with Olive oil and Greek mizithra (cheese)

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Spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra cheese

A simple Greek meal of spaghetti topped with olive oil and mizithra cheese!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Easy pasta, Mizithra
Servings: 4 people
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • large sauce pot
  • Small saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp heaping mizithra cheese See notes

Instructions

  • Add salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add your spaghetti. We have been taught to break the spaghetti in half prior to cooking it, but of course you don’t have to. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook the pasta as directed on the packaging, but truly, it is ready when you (or your child) says that it is.
  • Drain your pasta and once fully drained, return it to the pot it boiled in.
  • Take a few strands of pasta and dry them completely by rolling them with a paper towel. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Heat the oil for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Drop a strand of dried spaghetti into the oil. When the spaghetti starts to sizzle vigorously, your oil is hot enough.
  • Carefully pour the oil over the cooked spaghetti and mix well to coat all of the pasta. Add the mizithra and mix well. Serve with additional mizithra for people to add as they like.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If you are unable to find Greek mizithra cheese, you may substitute either grated parmesan or romano cheese, or a combination of the two, if you prefer. 
You can even try a different type of pasta, like a penne or linguine.  

20 responses to “Spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra”

  1. Fotini Bokolas Avatar
    Fotini Bokolas

    Hi girls, sounds delicious!!
    This is definitely one of my comfort foods!!
    🙂

  2. […] Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Mizithra […]

  3. […] gals who prefer to use old fashioned regular pasta for dishes like spaghetti with meat sauce and spaghetti with oil and mizithra.  Yum!  In any case, regardless of how you prepare your zucchini, they have enough folate, […]

  4. […] milk, and whey. It can be hard to find however.  Therefore, as in other recipes, like our spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra, you can always substitute equal parts parmesan and romano for the mizithra…but it […]

  5. […] mizithra cheese. As they got older, the olive oil would be burned, giving a more grown-up flavor to this amazing dish.  Sometimes we opt for a heartier meal, and that’s when we whip up some of our […]

  6. Phyllis Avatar
    Phyllis

    I cannot seem to find Mzithra anywhere in London (UK). I’ve checked in a few Cypriot owned Green Grocers and they don’t even know what Mzithra is! If anyone knows or where I can order online, I would be so appreciative thanks !

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Phyllis! Thanks for your comment. We really want you to find mizithra so we did a quick search to see where you might be able to order it from. It seems that there are a few ways to get mizithra, including through Amazon and a company called Ideal Cheese. We can’t vouch for the quality or company, but a quick review of customer feedback seems positive. The important thing would be to ensure that you are ordering hard mizithra; there is a cretan cheese called mizithra which is soft (not to be grated) and which resembles ricotta. It is delicious, but not what we would use in this recipe. Hope that helps!

      1. Phyllis Avatar
        Phyllis

        That’s great – thanks so much!

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        You’re welcome! Let us know how it goes 🙂

    2. Antigoni Christofides Avatar
      Antigoni Christofides

      I believe it’s dried Anari

      1. miakouppa Avatar

        Good luck!! We do know that it is available online. A good substitute could be equal parts grated romano and grated parmesan cheese.

  7. […] to have some super quick meal ideas at the ready.  Whether it’s our personal favourite of spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra (think grated parmesan, but different…and Greek), or a quick soup of hilopites, it always […]

  8. Phyllis Avatar
    Phyllis

    I checked both Amazon and Ideal Cheese, but neither are available in the UK unfortunately (Amazon UK did not have Mzithra listed )

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      🙁 That’s disappointing! Give it a try with equal parts grated romano and parmesan in place of the mizithra. It won’t be the same…but it will still be delicious 😉

  9. Tina Avatar
    Tina

    My father made our Mizithra. He used milk, then mixed it with something (maybe lemon juice or vinegar) to separate it. He then put the separated thicker milk in a cheesecloth to drain the liquid. After the liquid was drained, it became a softball sized ball. He salted the outside of the “ball” to draw out even more liquid. It took a couple of days. It looked easy, but I cannot remember the complete recipe / process.
    Does anyone know how to make Mizithra?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Tina, that sounds amazing! And in fact, we think we remember our parents doing something similar when we were younger. We’re going to ask them, and if indeed they used to (and still remember how) to make mizithra, we will share their technique. Have a great day!

  10. George Kougias Avatar

    the directions are not correct. you serve the pasta you sprinkle the cheese (far more than 3 tbs for a pound) and pour the hot oil over the pasta and cheese. The idea is that the hot oil (which actually should be Fitini, since it can be heated more than oil) will melt and almost slightly burn the cheese. The almost burned cheese gives a characteristic taste to the pasta.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you George for your comment. We would not say that the directions are incorrect, just different than how you prepare this dish (which also sounds lovely). As for the Nea Fytini, we also have a post using that product instead of olive oil. You can find it on our Recipe List. 🙂

  11. Gregory Homatas Avatar
    Gregory Homatas

    Not weird at all. My mom made it and I loved it. I finally found that the Spaghetti warehouse restaurant actually serves this dish and I ordered it and really loved it. Brought back some nice memories.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Gregory! So glad to bring back happy memories with this dish. We hear that there is a restaurant called Spaghetti Factory that serves it (or something similar); I guess they too realize how great it is, just like all of our parents did 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Helen & Billie

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