Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Myzithra Cheese (Makaronada)

“They’ve ruined another perfectly good plate of spaghetti,” thought the 8-year-old Zoe. Her Italian cousins had made it, and of course they had put basil in the sauce once again. Zoe knew better than to complain though, as Mama had made it perfectly clear beforehand that Zoe was not to comment on the disliked basil.

The basic Greek-style spaghetti sauce contains no herbs, but uses whole peppercorns to add a sweetly spicy flavor that’s different from the hotness of ground pepper.

Ingredients (Amounts Are Approximate)

some myzithra cheese to grate for topping
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 1/2 pound tomatoes, grated, (about 4 cups) or an equivalent amount of canned tomato sauce
a dozen whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3/4 tsp sugar

Cooking It!

Grate the myzithra cheese. It’s hard and brittle and will break into little knuckle-skinning pieces, so I highly recommend using a food processor instead of a box grater. Put some chunks into the food processor.

Chunks of myzithra in the food processor.

Process until the myzithra is the same texture as the parmesan you get in the green cans at the grocery store. If you don’t know what I mean, process until the myzithra is sort of like sand. Ah yes, the mythic cheese-sand beaches of the Greek islands!

Pulverized myzithra.

Heat the 1/3 cup oil, or enough to thickly cover the bottom of your pot.

Heat oil in a pot.

Add the onions and garlic, saute on medium high to high for 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally if using a nonstick pot; stir continuously if not using nonstick.

Saute onions and garlic.

Make sure the onions are soft and done, then add the tomatoes. Also add the peppercorns, salt, ground pepper, and sugar.

Add tomatoes and simmer.

Boil the sauce, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until it’s slightly thickened, 30 to 45 minutes.

The sauce is done.

Put a big pot of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti. The amounts given above will make plenty of sauce for 1/2 pound of spaghetti (enough for two people), but probably not enough for a full pound of spaghetti. Boil the spaghetti according to the package directions, drain and serve. Spoon sauce over each serving of pasta and top with grated myzithra. (If you don’t have myzithra, substitute any hard cheese such as kefalotyri or parmesan.)

Makaronada topped with myzithra cheese.


  1. Comment by Sam Sotiropoulos

    Bravo Lulu! A simple and tasty meal and one of my favourites! :-)

  2. Comment by lulu

    Thanks, Sam! This is a “comfort food” meal. Especially with no Italian cousins to put basil in. I actually adore basil, but I don’t think it has to be in every tomato sauce made by mankind, especially if leaving it out occasionally will make someone happy. :-)

  3. Comment by Laurie Constantino

    Yum yum – simple flavors made with great ingredients = the best food possible.

  4. Comment by maria verivaki

    hi lulu, i’ve just ordered omnivores dilemma – obviously a must-read!

  5. Comment by lulu

    Laurie, I definitely agree.

    Maria, I think you’ll find it interesting. Did you order from Amazon?

  6. Comment by dubaibilly

    Hi Lulu,

    That is interesting. Whenever I am in Skopelos I make a point of having meatballs in tomato sauce. I have never worked out what it was that made the tomato sauce different. I shall have to try it with the whole peppercorns and without the herbs and see if it the same.



  7. Comment by lulu

    Hi DB! Nice to see you! I think of you every time I post yet another vegetarian recipe. I really do have some meat recipes in the works!

  8. Comment by Lady Sweet Chips

    Lulu: All your recipes are the greatest and it is so helpful to have the pictures to help in the preparation.

  9. Comment by lulu

    Thanks, Lady Sweet Chips, glad you like them.

  10. Comment by Bellini Valli

    Thnaks for the tip on grating the cheese in the food processor. Thanks for idea for tonights supper:D

  11. Comment by lulu

    You’re welcome, Val! Thanks for visiting!

  12. Comment by Gay

    That must taste unique, I’m curious about the cheese as we don’t get that much kinds of cheese here in the Philippines.

    Gay’s last blog post..Presto Pasta Night Round-up #71

  13. Comment by Lulu

    Gay, it is different, but it’s hard to describe. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that one…

  14. Comment by Teresa

    We loved this one! I had to use Parm this time but I can’t wait to try it with myzithra.

    Teresa’s last blog post..My Kitchen My World: American

  15. Comment by Lulu

    Hi Teresa! It’s really good with parmesan. That’s what I always use when I don’t have myzithra on hand.

  16. Comment by Marilou

    What a recipe! I love spaghetti and I am have a new found love for Myzithra cheese. I just had a dish with it last weekend while vacationing in San Jose, California. Thanks for the post and I will try the recipe and report back.

  17. Comment by Lulu

    Thanks, Marilou! Please do let me know how it turns out.

  18. Comment by tomato sauce recipe

    “Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Myzithra Cheese” is another variety of recipe… I must say wow!

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