A simple and delicious rice dish with the nutty flavour of burnt butter and the salty goodness of mizithra cheese
If you’ve been following along on our Mia Kouppa trails over the past few years you will have learned a few things about us, and our parents. You would know that we are two sisters, who also have an awesome older brother, that we each have two darling girls, xeno (that is, non-Greek) husbands, and feathered and furry pets. If you haven’t been with us for very long, or tend to skip right to the recipe (that’s okay…we do it sometimes too!), then welcome! We’re so happy to have you join us!
Depending upon which category of Mia Kouppa visitor you are, this recipe will either cause you to raise an eyebrow, or not bat an eye. You see, here, the star is butter, and butter is an ingredient that was rarely used in our kitchen growing up. Our mother always considered butter unhealthy, and she still does. Olive oil has always been her go-to fat, whether it was in the béchamel for her amazing moussaka or pastitsio, her marble cake or her plainly incredible spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra. In fact, it was this last recipe which led to this current post.
Several weeks ago we re-shared spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra and mentioned to our parents that many readers remembered their parents or grand-parents making a similar dish, but with burnt butter. Our mother tsk-tsk-ed but our father sighed, smiled and said, “Ah yes! Burnt butter” (except he said this in Greek). He then continued to ask us if we remembered the dish he used to make us, when our mother was not around, of rice coated in burnt butter and sprinkled with a liberal amount of grated mizithra cheese. Of course!! We wondered how we could have forgotten, and then realized that it had been years since we had this dish, so how could we have possibly remembered!?
Thankfully, our dad not only remembered this dish, but he also had the good idea to head to the corner store during our visit to purchase some butter and make us lunch. Our mother may not be a fan of butter, but as she watched the three of us hovering over the stove, making sure our butter didn’t burn, practically giggling with anticipation for the taste that we knew would be divine, she became a fan of this recipe.
Our parents cook rice the way that they do pasta, and we’ve explained the reasons why this might be a very smart idea here. Feel free to read all about it.
You can use either salted, semi-salted, or unsalted butter for this recipe. Just take a taste of your completed meal before adding any additional salt to taste.
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Mizithra is a hard aged cheese made of goat and sheep’s milk. It is quite unique in flavour and absolutely delicious. You can find mizithra in Greek grocery stores, and online. You can also potentially find it in specialty food shops. If you are not successful in locating mizithra, you can always substitute it for equal parts grated romano and grated parmesan cheese.
Check out these other nice rice dishes:
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Rice with mizithra and burnt butter (Ρύζι με μυζήθρα και καμμένο βούτυρο)
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup grated mizithra cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and then add the rice. There should be enough water to fully submerge the rice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Stir rice regularly until cooked, approximately 20 minutes.
- Drain rice in a colander and then return to the pot in which it was cooked.
- Prepare your burnt butter by placing your butter in a small sauce pot and melting it over medium heat. Continue to cook after the butter has melted, stirring regularly until your butter turns an amber brown and smells nutty. Be careful, butter goes from deliciously burnt to inedible relatively quickly.
- When your butter is ready, pour it over the rice in the pot. Stir to coat your rice in the burnt butter and add the grated mizithra. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper as desired and some additional grated mizithra on top if you like. Serve immediately.