Don’t you love when a recipe is easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, but delicious enough to serve to guests? Today’s recipe, from Food52’s new cookbook Genius Recipes, uses yogurt in place of cheese, for a three-ingredient sauce that’s sure to impress. Here’s how to make it…
Pasta with Yogurt & Caramelized Onions
from Food52 Genius Recipes
When cookbook author Diane Kochilas began dressing pasta with yogurt, her intention was to adapt a classic Greek island dish that required an obscure cheese called sitaka. But, in doing so, she created a dinner of convenience that’s striking enough to serve to company. The sauce has only two components: thick yogurt and starchy, salty pasta cooking water, which together create the soothing texture of an alfredo sauce, lightened up with yogurt’s tang. But it won’t taste austere, especially once you garnish with caramelized onions and Pecorino to balance out the sweetness and salt.
When Kochilas developed this recipe, in order for the yogurt to thicken enough to coat the pasta—and not slip off into a puddle at the bottom of the plate—you had to remember to strain it for two hours. This is hardly something to grumble about, but it did keep this dish in the realm of dinners you have to think about before you’re hungry.
Now, with the widespread availability of thick, Greek-style (that is, already strained) yogurts, this is an almost embarrassingly ready-to-eat food. The only step that takes time is caramelizing the onions, which you’ll want to do right. Give them at least 20 to 30 minutes, while you do everything else. They should look like stained glass when you’re done, and taste like honey.
Recipe: Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions
Serves 4 to 6
What you’ll need:
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups coarsely chopped or sliced onions
1 lb. tagliatelle or other fresh pasta
2 cups thick, strained Greek-style yogurt
1 cup coarsely grated kefalotyri or Pecorino Romano cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently and seasoning with salt to taste as you go, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. As the water heats, add enough salt so that you can taste it. Add the pasta and cook until soft, just past al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water. Combine the yogurt with 1⁄4 cup cooking water and mix well. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your desired thickness. Toss the pasta with the yogurt mixture. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with the caramelized onions and their juices.
GENIUS TIP: There are endless ways you can fancy up this meal. Throw in spinach or chard as the pasta finishes boiling. Or blend the sauce with peas, mint or tahini. Thank you so much, Food52! Your new book is amazing.
(Reprinted with permission from Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore ©2015. Recipe courtesy of Diane Kochilas. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photo by James Ransom. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with this series)