Melbourne With My Girls : Pasta In A Yoghurt Sauce

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In amongst a trip to see your Nana and Papa in KL, visitors to stay with us in Sydney, dad traveling here and there around the country, AND Izzy moving up to Sydney for a long internship, I cannot believe I had  twenty-four hours with  both my girls in Melbourne not so long ago. What an almighty treat for this mum. I was SO happy to be with you. Thank you so much for putting your busy lives on hold, and just enjoying a mellow day with me. I really treasure the time we had together. We had a long and lazy brunch and wandered all over your beautiful campus on a sunny and mild winter’s day.

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IMG_6971You both know I am a great fan of the chef Yotam Ottolenghi, but when a recipe which included ingredients like peas and yoghurt came to my attention, I have to say I was dubious.  But who am I to doubt the master cook. I went ahead and made this pasta dish, quite sure I would be happily surprised. And yes, it was unusual and delicious, creamy and tangy, made mild by the peas. The pale green colour of the sauce was beautiful – I  love food that looks appealing too. The pine nuts cooked with chilli flakes and oil and drizzled over, add a brightness to the dish which is glorious. If you are cooking for vegetarian friends, it is a perfect all in one meal, hearty and satisfying. We shared this dish with non-meat eating friends this week-end. I made a tomatoey, spicy eggplant curry, a Nana favourite, to accompany.  An unusual combination, but it seemed to go together quite well.  Anyway, the long and the short of it girls is, make this pasta- you’ll love it!

Cannot wait for our end of month reunion- its been too long since we’ve all been together as a family. I miss it.

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile
2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
Kosher salt
1 pound (500 g) pasta shapes of your liking
½ cup (60 g) pine nuts
2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
1 2/3 cups (40 g) basil leaves, coarsely torn
8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yogurt, 6 tablespoons (90 ml) of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup (100 g) of the peas. Process to a uniform pale green sauce, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it until tastes like pleasantly salty seawater. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (you could scoop out a bit of the pasta water for this); then drain.

Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, and shake it well to get rid of excess water that may have settled into the pasta’s crevices. Add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to separate. Add the warm peas, the basil, feta, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently. Serve immediately, with pine nuts and chile oil spooned over each serving.

Serves: about 6.

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem

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