March 5, 2013

Pin It Pasta with Yogurt, Peas and Chile – Cook the Books

I'm so excited about this new cookbook; all the recipes look amazing! They seem a little more involved then I'm used to but so far they have proven to be worth the effort.  Really it's not so much effort as it is using multiple pots/pans/appliances, which in the end just means more clean up. However, like I said, totally worth it.

The thing I love about this recipe besides it being delicious is that there is not so much cooking prep needed.  The recipe starts out by making a creamy yogurt sauce using Greek yogurt, garlic, green peas and olive oil.  All you have to do is blend it in a food processor and you've got your sauce. 
Here is the other thing I love about this recipe. It's got such a rich and creamy flavor without all the fat that the usual cream sauce brings to the table. I used non-fat Greek Yogurt so I'm pretty sure this is actually a really healthy pasta dish.  And can we talk about how fantastic Greek yogurt is? So thick and substantial with no fat? It's amazing. I'm not sure how it works but I like it and will not question its greatness.
After your sauce is prepped there are just a few other things that need to be done. Tear up a bunch of basil for later and start cooking your pasta. I used brown rice pasta in an effort to start out my gluten-free month. 

Side note about that: I don't plan on being super strict about this so please excuse me in advance for breaking the rules.  However, I will be making a conscious effort to eat less gluten throughout the month and will try to avoid making anything at home with gluten in it.

While your pasta is cooking, start frying your pine nuts in olive oil and chile pepper. I used Aleppo pepper because I had it PLUS it fell under the category of Turkish or Syrian chile pepper (see full recipe and directions below). 
When your pasta is done cooking, slowly add it to the sauce, then mix in the basil, peas and feta. Top with fried pine nuts and oil and enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (I used non-fat)
2/3 cups olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 lb. conchiglie pasta (I used brown rice spiral pasta)
Scant 1/2 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
1 2/3 cups basil leaves, coarsely torn
8 oz. feta, broken into chunks (I used fat-free)
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Directions
Put yogurt, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic and 2/3 cup peas in the food processor and combine until a uniform pale green sauce is formed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Cook the pasta as directed. As pasta cooks, heat remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and chile flakes and fry for 4 minutes, until nuts are golden and the oil is a deep red. 

Drain the cooked pasta and slowly add it to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to split. Add in the warm peas, basil, feta, salt and white pepper. Toss gently, transfer to individual bowls and spoon over the pine nuts and the oil.
I really did love this recipe and plan to make it again very soon.  It yields a good about (serves about 6) and made for great leftovers. Don't be thrown by a yogurt based pasta sauce. It may sound a little unusual but I'm all about it...and you will be too.

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