pasta with yogurt, peas, and chile

It's English pea season! If you can get your hands on some fresh peas, you should make this pasta. Even if you have to use frozen peas, you should still make this pasta. If you thought pesto couldn't be improved upon, this yogurt sauce may be a contender. It's pesto's lighter, creamier cousin (that also has a bit of a spicy side!). Trust me, it's delicious. So, so delicious.

If you need any further convincing, just read Molly's description on Orangette. I'm not alone in my love for this pasta.

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile
Adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

This recipe originally calls for the garlic to be added to the yogurt sauce raw, but I like to heat it briefly to calm down the bite a bit (am I the only one that finds myself tasting nothing but raw garlic for hours after I eat it?).

2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil, divided
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
Kosher salt
1 pound (500 g) small pasta shapes such as conchiglie or orecchiette (my favorite is campanelle)
Scant 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
6-8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente.

While the pasta cooks, warm 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute briefly, just 30 seconds or so until fragrant, you don't want it to brown at all. Scoop out the garlic and set aside, then continue to warm the olive oil. 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.

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.

Warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (I usually just throw them in with the pasta for the last minute or two of coooking); 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.


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