Greek Spaghetti… Greek Goodness in a bowl.


This past week I headed to Whole Foods and asked the cheese guy if they carried Xynomyzithra Cheese?  He looked back at me and said, “xyno wha?”  greek spaghetti (10)

I repeated myself and let him know it was a creamy, Greek cheese from the island of Crete.greek spaghetti (1)

He then responded, “Honey, the only Greek cheese I have is Feta and Kasseri.”greek spaghetti (27)

And then I thought, if Whole Foods doesn't carry Xynomyzithra Cheese, I’d have to go to a Greek bakery or a specialty Cheese store to find it.  greek spaghetti (19)

Well, as you all know it, that didn't happen.  Instead I improvised Xynomyzithra Cheese with full-fat Fage Greek Yogurt which is lower in fat and high in protein.  I can assure you this pasta dish won’t taste “weird” or “tart” with the addition of yogurt, in fact it tastes creamy and delicious. greek spaghetti (30)

My inspiration for this dish comes to you from the island of Paros, the Greek Spaghetti I devoured at the Saint Andrea Seaside Resort.greek spaghetti (19)

The Parian version of this dish was drenched in tomato sauce and made with kalamata olives, capers, onions, red & green peppers, and Xynomyzithra cheese.  greek spaghetti (21)

My version turned out really good, but I’m warning you, if you aren’t a fan of olives, use very few or omit them all together.  Enjoy!greek spaghetti (36)

NUTRITION: Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of Protein and Calcium.  Whole Grain pasta and Crushed Tomatoes are a good source of Fiber and Protein, additionally tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A and C.  Bell Peppers are a great source of Vitamins A, B6, and C.   Capers are a good source of Fiber.  Olives are a good source of Fiber, Iron, and Vitamin E which promotes healthy skin.


INGREDIENTS:
  • Pot of Water
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – 1.5 tsp  (use less if you can’t handle heat)
  • Garlic – 2 cloves  (chopped)
  • Onion – 1 medium  (sliced)
  • Red Bell Pepper – 1 half  (sliced in 1 inch pieces)
  • Green Bell Pepper – 1 half  (sliced in 1 inch pieces)
  • Crushed Tomatoes w/basil – 1 (28 ounce) can
  • Dried Oregano – 1 tsp
  • Capers – 2 tbsp
  • Kalamata Olives – 12 olives
  • Fage Total Classic Greek Yogurt full-fat – 1 (7 ounce) tub  (mascarpone will work really well too)
  • Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti – 1 pound box
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Feta Cheese – for garnish… I prefer mild Feta

DIRECTIONS:
1. Start by heating up a pot of water for the pasta.
2. Chop the garlic and thinly slice the onion.


3. Heat up a pan on medium heat, once hot, add the extra virgin olive oil and crushed red pepper. 
4. Once it begins to sizzle throw in the garlic and onion.  Season with salt.  Stir and let it saute for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
5. In the meantime, slice half of a red & green bell pepper.


6. Back to the onions, this is what you should have.greek spaghetti (57)
7. Add the bell pepper and season with salt.  Stir.  Allow the ingredients to cook for about 4-5 minutes.
8. Once done, add a can of crushed tomatoes.greek spaghetti (62)
9. Season with a little salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp of oregano crushed in the palm of your hand.  Stir.
10. Add the capers and olives.
NOTE: these ingredients are already high in sodium, so don’t go overboard with salt.
11. Add a tub of Fage Greek Yogurt. 
12. Swirl until everything is mixed thru.
13. This is what you should have.   
14. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.  The heat will extract the flavor of the olives.
15. Season the boiling hot water with salt.  Add the spaghetti.  Cook until al dente – about 7 to 8 minutes.
16. After 10 minutes, this is what your sauce should look like.  Taste and season with more salt, black pepper, or oregano as need be.
17. Add the spaghetti to the sauce.  RESERVE A CUP OF STARCHY PASTA WATER!!!
18. Toss all the ingredients.  Add about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of starchy pasta water to help thin out the sauce, this will also help bind the pasta to the sauce.
19. Top with some feta cheese.  A bowl of Greek Goodness!greek spaghetti (1)

TELL ME: Have you tried Xynomyzithra cheese?  Have you ever made Greek Pasta?  If so, what do you add to your Greek pasta?


44 comments:

  1. This sounds wonderful! I would love to have a big bowl of this. Delicious! :)

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    1. Thanks Anne. It's a good thing there is lots of protein, so a big bowl should fill you up. :)

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  2. This looks so yum! I will eat anything with Greek Yogurt, Feta and Olives in it!

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    1. Thanks Sejal... me too. I love olives and greek yogurt, feta is hit or miss though. :)

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  3. Looking at that lovely spaghetti is so comforting :-) I am sure it would have tasted great.

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    1. It is a comforting dish, thank you.. hope you try it.

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  4. Yum yum YUM! This is the perfect time to see the recipe because I just received a package from Total with several packets of Greek yogurt! Do you think 2% will work instead of full fat? If not, I will go buy the latter! I've made Greek pasta/dishes at home and usually add feta, parsley and Kalamata olives! I went for a Greek meal on Saturday and thought of you & your trip recaps! All that meat, especially the lamb, and spread of dips did NOT disappoint!

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    1. K - I just commented on your blog, but I recommend using Full Fat, you can definitely try it with 2%, but it may be more tangy than full fat. Also, if you are using 2%, I would temper the sauce and yogurt to avoid curdling. I love Greek dips!!! :-)

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  5. This looks and sounds delicious! I love the addition of greek yogurt instead of cheese...very innovative, N! I love love love olives so this dish would be perfect for me.

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    1. Thanks Parita... I think so. :-) Love olives too, so throw them in.

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  6. I wish I could eat yogurt because this looks really delicious. There's a place in LA called Petros that has THE BEST Greek spaghetti. Of course I've never been to Greece so it's the best I've had thus far.

    Looks really great Nisha. I might make this for Ali if I'm feeling generous. :)

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    1. Aww.. that sucks. Petros sounds soooooo Greek. When I visit LA, I will visit Petros. In NYC, I've tried Molyvos and Thalassa, I thought Molyvos was better, but THalassa had better ambience. Yeah, definitely an easy meal to make for the hubby, he'll appreciate it.

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  7. mmm, love this greek take on spaghetti! My husband would love it and he's in his marathon training now so he requires pasta every Friday night. Looks like I've got my recipe for this week ;)

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    1. Thanks Amy. THat's so sweet of you to say, let me know how it turned out. :-) Definitely lots of carbs to help with marathon training.

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  8. Love the addition of yogurt! I tried it one time because I was low on sauce and still wanted something creamy and it came out perfect! Now that I think about it, substituting yogurt for a lot of things work really well. :)

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    1. Yeah, totally. Fage gives the sauce a richness no other yogurt can compare to, it's a Greek thing. I love the plain Fage yogurt.

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  9. Never tried making Greek pasta, but it looks a lovely one :)

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  10. YUM. It looks creamy, flavorful, and delicious.

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  11. This looks wonderful! I love that the pasta is made creamy with Greek yogurt!

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    1. Yup, cuts down the fat by a 1/2 I bet.. thanks Georgia.

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  12. I'm going to ask the.boy's grandmother where to get xynomyzritha and report back. If anyone knows, it's her!

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    1. OMG.. please do, I'd be so grateful. If WF didn't have it, who would? I can probably check with a Greek restaurant in Manhattan, but they'll probably charge me an arm and a leg.

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  13. Looks yum! Gonna be a weeknight dinner for me soon! :)

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    1. Thanks Tarika.. let me know how it turns out.

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  14. HI Just found your site and love the recipes! I never heard of this cheese, but if I find it somewhere in NY I will get back to you. I love the idea of Greek pasta, it sounds delicious!! Love the added peppers and especially the yogurt. I took a trip to Greece with my sister Anna and her oldest daughter ( a graduation gift) back in 2000 and LOVED everything about it! You are so lucky to be part of a beautiful culture and country like Greece.

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    1. THanks Anna and Liz... appreciate that so much. That'd be great if you can let me know about the cheese. Greece is amazing... I still can't decide which one is more beautiful, Greece or Italy. They both took my breath away. Thank you... we are both lucky! :-)

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  15. I loved your photographs of Greece and this looks equally delicious!

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    1. Thanks Nik.. glad you did. Love all your photographs.. food and trips. :)

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  16. Gosh, this looks so good - spicy and flavorful, my kind of dish. I do like olives so I would omit any! Good stuff - thanks.

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    1. Thank you... it has a little kick of spice that I love. I love olives too, but I've found that so many people don't like them. Strange.

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  17. I have never heard of this cheese but love all cheeses! Your recipe looks delicious and so many flavours, am now overdue to eat pasta :-)

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    1. Yeah, I hadn't heard of it until I trekked to Greece.... I love learning when I'm on vaca. You'd love it, it's mild and creamy.

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  18. Oh boy, this looks great. I actually I am about to make dinner and I believe I have all the ingredients on hand. I should give this a go because I truly love Feta cheese. One of my favorite cheeses, after Manchego of course :-)

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    1. Oooh.. thanks Miryam... hope you do, let me know how it turns out. OMG.. I pick Manchego any day over Feta... lol... I just bought some Manchego yesterday. YUM! It is Spain's gift to the world.

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  19. I've never heard of that cheese before. Not a huge fan of feta cheese but that god I love greek yogurt. This looks so luscious :)

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    1. Kiran - I'm not a fan of feta either.. but this Xynomizithra cheese is amazing. Greek Yogurt Full Fat works well here. :-)

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  20. This looks so yummmy! I love olives and Greek yogurt! I will try this soon! BTW, your site looks very nice!

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    1. Thank you... if you love olives and Greek Yogurt, you'll love this I promise. Thanks for the compliment, really appreciate it.

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