Pasta tossed with the classic Greek vegetable shortening and kefalotyri cheese
Mediterranean cooking prides itself on wholesome, nutritious food. Fresh ingredients, balanced diets heavy on fresh vegetables and just the right amount of animal protein. We love that we have been able to offer you so many of these healthy meal options, foods like Greek lentil soup, green beans and potatoes and spanakopita. Vitamins, minerals, and goodness, oh my!
But every once in a while we like to share a recipe that’s not necessarily good for you, but good because it reminds us of days gone by. We recognize that this particular recipe will probably only appeal to those of you who have had it in the past. Maybe, like us, your mother made this makaronada with Nea Fytini as a quick supper before Greek dancing, or as a satisfying lunch after church on Sunday. Maybe your parents also worked long, odd hours and turned to meals such as this one when time was short, and wallets were thin. Maybe, like us, it’s been years since you enjoyed a bowlful of carbs coated in a richly flavoured vegetable shortening and a sharp Greek cheese. We think it’s time you took a trip down food-memory lane.
And for those of you who have no idea what Nea Fytini is, we welcome you to trust us, and give this recipe a try. True, without any past memories, this recipe will be devoid of meaning, and may not seem as delicious as we know it to be. Or perhaps you will have discovered a new quick dish to serve your own family, when your time and wallets are stretched. New memories are made everyday.
We don’t really mind what sort of pasta you use here, although we always had this dish served with either spaghetti or another long pasta shape. Use what you like, or what you have.
Although the choice of pasta is open, the use of Nea Fytini is essential. Nea Fytini is a vegetable shortening made in Greece, and is unique in flavour; you can’t really replace it with any other shortening. We’re fortunate enough that our local Greek grocery store carries Nea Fytini, but if you don’t have access to it where you shop, it is available for purchase online.
The kefalotyri cheese we use in this recipe is a delicious Greek cheese. It is a hard and salty cheese made with either goat or sheep’s milk (or sometimes a combination of the two). It’s the cheese often used to make saganaki, that classic Greek appetizer of fried cheese often flambeed with ouzo or cognac. If you can’t find kefalotyri (this too is available online) you could substitute grated parmesan or romano cheese, or Greek myzithra.
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Do you love pasta as much as we do? How about giving these other quick pasta dishes a try:
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Pasta with Nea Fytini (Mακαρονάδα με Νέα Φυτίνη)
- 1 pound pasta, preferably spaghetti
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup Nea Fytini
- 1/3 cup grated kefalotyri cheese
- additional grated kefalotyri cheese, to taste
- Add salt to a large pot of water. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the packaging.
- Meanwhile, melt the Nea Fytini in a small saucepot and keep warm.
- When your pasta is done, drain it well. Return the pasta to the pot that it was cooked in. Pour in the melted Nea Fytini and the grated kefalotyri cheese. Toss to coat.
- Serve with additional grated kefalotyri, to taste.