Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pasta with Yogurt Pea Sauce

 Okay, so I struggled with the title of this dish. I mean, if you were trying to get your kids to not eat the food you made, you'd probably be like, "Hey kids, want some pasta with mashed pea and yogurt sauce. Also I plan to throw on some pine nuts with chili oil." And then they'd run to their rooms screaming about calling CPS to report abuse and you could just eat in peace. So I admit that on some levels this title is just not the greatest, but then on the other hand you get to eat your meal in happy silence. Well, until CPS gets there of course.

Seriously, my kids did not like this. And, seriously, I didIt was simple, yet slightly sophisticated--the chili-ed pine nuts adding some heat, which was a nice foil for the creamy pasta. It was delicious, yet nutritious. It was delightfully well-rounded. Maybe that word is taboo in this vegan/paleo/gluten-free world, but I still find it refreshing to occasionally serve a dish that's got all my food groups just sitting there being grown-up and awesome together. Also, who doesn't like a meal thrown together in 30 minutes.

If the kid thing is an issue, I should tell you that if you slop a bunch of spaghetti sauce onto this to try to cover it up, that's actually pretty good--kind of a creamy tomato sauce. On the other hand, if you'd like to be even more grown up, I think that this would also be wonderful with some sun-dried tomatoes spooned on top, or maybe some roasted red peppers. And if you want to serve it aside some grilled chicken, well, more power to you.

Pasta with Yogurt Pea Sauce
adapted from Orangette
makes 6-8 servings
Prep/Cook time: 30 minutes
Cost: $9.50 (This is kind of pricey for a pasta dish, but it's still only about $1.50/plate. Also, this was cheaper for us, since my yogurt only cost me about .50 and my basil was free and I used fewer pine nuts than called for--so we spent only about maybe $6.50 or about $1.00/serving)
yogurt (ours was way cheap because I did homemade, so I'm guessing on a store bought price here): 3.00, olive oil: .70, peas: 1.30, past: 1.00, basil (again I get mine for free since I have a bunch frozen, so this is a guess): 1.00, feta: 2.00, pine nuts: .50

-I halved this as I so often do with dishes I'm worried my kids will hate (I love me a good leftover, but 6 days of leftovers is a little much even for me).
-Also, to cheapen this a bit, you can reduce the amount of pine nuts/olive oil or try using a cheaper nut like almond slivers (or go nut free and use sunflower seeds). And I think you could totally get away with using less cheese. I think you could also use regular plain yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, though you may want to use only 2 C since it will be runnier.

2 1/2 C whole-milk Greek yogurt
2/3 C olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic
1 pound fresh or thawed frozen peas, divided
1 pound pasta (preferably a smallish pasta)
scant 1/2 C pine nuts
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (or a chili flake)
1 2/3 C basil leaves, torn (or a few Tbsp pesto if you've got it)
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Get your pasta cooking. Boil some water, add a good dose of salt, and then add your pasta and follow the cooking instructions.

As the pasta cooks, get out your food processor. In a food processor (or possibly a good blender), combine yogurt, 6 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, and 2/3 C peas. Process to a smooth green sauce. Put this into a serving bowl.

Warm the remaining oil in a small frying pan on medium or medium low heat. Add pine nuts and red pepper flakes. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally until the pine nuts begin to brown. Your oil may turn red, which would be pretty, but mine didn't.

Also, warm up your remaining peas.

Drain pasta and add it gradually to the yogurt sauce. You've got to add it gradually. If you add it all at once, your yogurt could separate (and then your kids really won't eat it). Add the peas, the basil, feta, and 1 tsp salt. Toss/mix gently.

Serve and spoon a spoonful of the pine nuts and chili oil onto each serving.


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