Let me tell you a secret – this is one of our favorite restaurants and this is the dish we ALWAYS get from Old Spaghetti Factory. We’ve never tried anything else.
And that is for good reason – it is their “signature” dish – it is popular – it is so good!
But, it’s also quite expensive! Like ear $10 for a plate of this spaghetti. We get to go here and there, but the real key was how to satisfy this craving at home.
And here’s the bigger secret – or rather better news… It is easy, tasty and MUCH cheaper at home. In fact, our whole family of 7 can enjoy a filling plateful for around $5 total – that is .71 each person! And it is a HEAPING plate full of pasta.
This dinner is also so easy, that it is often a last minute emergency meal! And when that happens, everyone is so excited.
First, let’s talk about the cost.
I use 2 boxes of spaghetti. I can get these on sale for $1 or less all of the time. Just this week, they were on sale for .75 each box. So I stock up as they store for a long time.
Then I buy wedges of the Mizithra Cheese from my local Kroger sister store (Smiths). It is $6-$7 a pound, but the wedges are about 1/3 of a pound and more than enough for two boxes of pasta. This costs me $2.50 – $3.00 a wedge. Note that they are found with the speciality cheeses, not the regular blocks/shreds sections of the store. These also have a long shelf life in the fridge. So I grab them whenever we are out so I have it on hand.
Also, I use about a half cube of butter for the full 2 boxes of pasta. I buy butter around $2 a lb., so this is about .25 worth of butter.
Finally, for a crunch and yummy cooking option, I will also use coconut oil. I have tried this with gluten-free pasta from Trader Joe’s, fettuccine size, angel hair and regular size spaghetti noodles.
For the Gluten-Free Version
For the regular version.
- 2 boxes of pasta at .75 each = $1.50
- Wedge of Mizithra Cheese = $3
- 1/8th lb. of butter = .25
- TOTAL = $4.75
We usually also serve this with salad, or steamed broccoli or sautéed cabbage and fresh fruit. All around, a very filling meal for a low cost and a favorite of everyone.
Here’s how to make it:
- Boil the pasta to just under al dente (and we suggest following some of these pasta cooking tips to cook the pasta a bit healthier).
- While the pasta is cooking, grate your Mizithra cheese on a fine setting.
- Cut the butter into TBSP size. Note that you can use as much butter as you want and we think that the Old Spaghetti Factory probably uses about double (like a whole cube for 2 boxes of pasta) but we try to just a little less just to be a bit healthier. 🙂
- In a sauce pan, add the butter and start cooking on medium heat. You will need to stay at the stove and constantly stir.
- This will be a quick process and one that you can burn your butter easily. As the butter melts and boils, keep stirring constantly until it reaches a light brown color.
- Then immediately remove from heat and transfer to a bowl until ready to use it. It will burn if you leave it in the pan or if you stop stirring.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to a giant bowl.
- In the bowl add the cheese and toss. Then add the butter and toss.
- Serve warm!
As a new and yummy alternative and our preferred way (we’ve been cooking it this new way for a couple of years) you can brown the butter while “frying the pasta.” We have decided that we like this version better because we like a little bit of crunch in the pasta! It’s really awesome!
To make this crispy fried pasta version:
- Follow the first two steps above.
- Then add the butter into a frying pan (you may have to do this in sections depending on how much pasta will also fit in your frying pan).
- Then immediately had pasta and brown the butter while you fry the pasta. Stir constantly as it cooks and browns.
- Then pour into a large serving bowl and immediately toss with cheese.
- You get a nice little crisp of a pasta.
- *You will notice that our picture includes coconut oil. We will often fry the pasta in coconut oil and then pour with a little less browned butter to make it a little healthier. Just follow the steps for the fried pasta and use coconut oil instead and then brown your butter with the steps above. It’s the best of both world, but healthier!
This really is a simple and satisfying meal. There are NEVER leftovers.