If I told you that you could make a delicious, (what I have determined to be) authentic, complete Greek dinner on a week night, would you believe me?
Well, you can. And you should. The pork ribs are so easy to throw together in the slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning, but pack a serious punch of Mediterranean flavor from the lemon and oregano. You can make the Tzatziki sauce the night before, which is better anyway, so all the flavors can get to know each other. And then when you get home from work, the pasta and salad come together in a snap!
Have you heard of Mizithra cheese? I hadn’t either. It’s a very Greek cheese, made with milk and whey from sheep and/or goats. And it is quite possibly the strangest edible substance ever made. The outside is chalky, it’s very firm and easy to grate. And my good friend Heather’s Greek husband made this pasta for us approximately 7 times before I asked for the recipe and realized those weren’t buttery breadcrumbs and parmesan I was eating.
The key is to brown the butter, and toss the finely grated cheese in to brown as well. You’ll expect it to melt. It won’t. I don’t know why. But I’m so glad it doesn’t…because it turns into these bits of salty-browned-buttery-goodness that makes this Greek Spaghetti to die for.
I certainly can’t claim to be any sort of expert on Greek food (unless you count State Fair Gyros). But this dinner comes together like a dream and is totally full of flavor and decadence. I like to make my Tzatziki sauce with sour cream, however plain yogurt is more traditional. If you’d rather go that route! There are a lot of ingredients here but please don’t be intimidated, it is really simple! And a store bought Greek dressing would work just as well, if you’d like a shortcut.
- 2 lbs boneless 'country style' pork ribs
- 1 whole shallot, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, pinch of pepper
- 1 english cucumber
- ½ red or white onion
- 2 roma tomatoes
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Pinch pepper
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Dash of honey
- ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 lb thin spaghetti
- ¾ cup finely grated Mizithra cheese
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 garlic clove, grated, pressed, or finely minced
- ½ tsp dried dill
- ½ cup grated english cucumber, squeezed dry in paper towels
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- In a crock pot, spread the shallot out in the bottom and then top with the pork in one layer. Squeeze the juice from the two lemons over the pork, then sprinkle with the oregano and salt and pepper. Set to cook on low for 8 hours.
- Seed the cucumber and use about 3 inches to shred for your Tzatziki sauce. Make sure you pat it as dry as you can between paper towels.
- Mix together the Tzatziki ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 24 hours).
- Slice the onion and cut the rest of the cucumber and the roma tomatoes into bite size chunks. Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a mason jar, or whisk together, and pour over vegetables. Allow to marinate while you make the pasta.
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In the same pot you boiled the pasta in, melt and lightly brown the butter over medium-low heat. Stirring, careful not to let it burn. Toss in the cheese and stir around until it all gets a little brown and smells yummy. Add the kosher salt, then put the pasta on a serving platter and pour the butter cheese mixture all over. Toss together and top with extra cheese if desired.
- Break the pork apart into chunks and serve on top of a healthy portion of pasta.
- Serve the vegetable salad over a bed of spinach with extra feta, and enjoy with pita wedges and Tzatziki sauce on the side!
Also – for lunch tomorrow – do yourself a favor and wrap up the leftover pork, vegetables, some spinach, and plenty of Tzatziki in a pita. You’re welcome.