Growing up, I vividly remember sitting next to my cousins at the kitchen table of my grandparent’s home in Karpathos. We would watch intently as my Papou prepared a simple plate of food for us-his beloved grandchildren. One of his favorite dishes was makaronia me Sitaka- pasta with a creamy sauce made from the goat’s milk whey after it’s been cooked down for hours (and hours). My guess is you’ve probably never had or heard of anything like this and if you asked your local grocery store if they sold Sitaka, they would probably return looks of confusion. It just hasn’t been easy to make or find, but just recently Sitaka found me.
On a girl’s night dinner outing, my friend and I ordered a cheese plate that featured a cheese I had never heard of: Gjetost ( pronounced “yay-toast”). After my first bite, I found a familiar flavor and eventually came to the conclusion that this cheese described by the waiter as “nutty and sweet” is Sitaka’s Norweigan cousin.
Needless to say, this was the inspiration for the recipe to follow-fried sage leaves crumbled into a creamy Gjetost sauce for the pasta of your choice. While I would take my Papou’s version over mine any day, I now have an equally delicious and quick version that I can whip up without spending a day in the kitchen.
Buying Gjetost: I found my 8.8 oz block of Gjetost at Dierbergs in the cheese section for approximately $7. I’ve also heard that Whole Foods carries it.
Sitaka & Sage Pappardelle
For Fried Sage Leaves:
15-20 fresh sage leaves
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
For Pasta Sauce:
1 c shredded Gjetost
2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste
Heat butter and oil in a skillet and fry the leaves for approximately 60 seconds or until lightly browned.Remove leaves from oil and place on a paper-towel lined plate for excess oil to be absorbed.
In a separate pan, melt butter and add two cups of heavy cream over medium heat. Add 1 c of shredded Gjetost cheese allowing to melt completely. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and crumbled sage leaves. Toss with cooked pasta and enjoy!