Mmmmm…. hot yogurt pasta? Like many Ottolenghi recipes, upon first glance this dish looks like WTF? Or at the very least, like something is off. But then, through magic of some kind, everything comes together seamlessly and deliciously. Give it a try, trust me. (Unless you’re lactose intolerant–this is a dairy bomb!) PLUS it’s super easy to whip up after work on a weeknight.
*Note: I used Aleppo pepper, but any chili flake in the Turkish or Syrian variety works (Ottolenghi recommends Urfa, Kirmizi biber, or Aleppo). If you can’t find any, try using regular chile flakes + a little smoked paprika (I imagine Sumac could be cool too add too, but if you have access to that you will also have access to aleppo pepper!)
** Other note: This makes SO MUCH FOOD. I usually halve it.
2 1/2 cups / 500 g Greek yogurt
2/3 cup / 150 ml olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb / 500 g fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 lb / 500 g conchiglie pasta (AKA shells, I like the big ones. Orecchiete could also work)
scant 1/2 cup / 60 g pine nuts
2 tsp Turkish or Syrian chili flakes (or less if they’re very spicy)*
1 2/3 cups /50 g basil leaves, coarsly torn
8 ox / 240 g feta cheese, broken into chunks
salt and freshly ground white pepper (best, but fine to use pre-ground or black pepper!)
Put the yogurt, 6 tablespoons of oil, garlic, and 2/3 cup peas in a food processor. Blend until it becomes a smooth, pale green sauce. Transfer the sauce to a large mixing bowl.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente (per the package instructions). While the pasta is cooking, heat the rest of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chili flakes. Fry for 4 minutes, being sure to toss occasionally, until the nuts are golden and the oil is red. Heat the rest of the peas in some boiling water (until warm), then drain.
Drain cooked pasta with a colander, making sure to get rid of the excess water. Gradually add the pasta to the yogurt sauce. Then add the warm peas, basil, feta, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss and transfer to individual bowls, and spoon the pine nuts and chili oil over each bowl.
This dish is weird to reheat, which is why I usually halve it, but if I reheat it I like to serve it just warm, not hot.