pasta with yogurt, peas and chili oil

May 15, 2015 § 56 Comments

DSCN3423 A very similar pasta recipe was posted here several months ago and the only difference between the two is the type of pasta used.  We have been using quinoa pasta as of late and honestly I really love both the texture and flavor of the noodles.  I have tried a couple of different quinoa products and the best, in my opinion, is a corn free brand called Andean Dream, which is made with only two ingredients, organic quinoa flour and organic rice flour. DSCN3420 It may seem a bit odd to use yogurt in a pasta sauce but it really works here. The overall effect is a tad sour and creamy but not heavy. And with pea harvest in full swing (at the co-op) now is the time to make as many pea recipes as you can during this short lived season.  This is a wonderfully light springtime dinner. Adapted slightly from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi The original version of this recipe calls for conchiglie or shell-shaped pasta, but you could use any pasta shape you like.   If you’re worried about the amount of heat, consider starting with a little less chili than what is called for – or lightly drizzle the chili oil on your pasta.

  • 2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
  • 1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (500 g) pasta shapes of your liking, we used quinoa
  • ½ cup (60 g) pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1- 2/3 cups (40 g) basil (or mint) leaves, coarsely torn
  • 8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

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, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it until tastes like pleasantly salty seawater. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. 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. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (you could scoop out a bit of the pasta water for this); 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. Serves 4, generously.

quinoa spaghetti and turkey meatballs

March 30, 2015 § 63 Comments

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We’ve shifted our diet around a bit.  I am strictly buying organic foods now and we have cut out a few things.  One being gluten.  Although we don’t consider ourselves gluten intolerant (thank goodness) we decided to eliminate it for two weeks just to see what would happen.  And boy were we were surprised.  Our energy level came up significantly, that feeling of fullness disappeared, we are sleeping better and have dropped a few inches from our waistline.

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At this point we are not completely gluten free, but we are making different choices when buying foods that contain gluten.  You can imagine while deciding to minimize the amount of gluten in our food the first thing that crossed my mind was pasta.  I can remove all kinds of things from my diet but pasta was going to be a huge challenge.   Semolina pasta is my comfort food.  Then lo and behold while shopping at the co-op the other day I stumbled upon a little box of quinoa pasta.  The spaghetti we usually purchase is available in 16 ounce (one pound) boxes.  This little box was only 8 ounces.  I paid for it and couldn’t wait to get home to start the meatballs.

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We were pleasantly surprised with the chewy “al dente” texture of the quinoa pasta and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a gluten free spaghetti option.  And I must say it felt right cooking that little 8 ounce box rather than a whole pound of spaghetti.   We were completely satiated.

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Served with a sprinkling of parmesan.

I n g r e d i e n t s

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground organic free range ground turkey
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pesto

  • handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

M e t h o d

Sauce.  Using a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the crushed garlic cloves and cook until fragrant.  Do not brown.  Add the can of crushed tomatoes and lower the heat to low.  Add salt and allow to simmer.

Meatballs.  Place all ingredients in a bowl, remove your rings and mix well with your hands.  Create golf ball sized meatballs and dropped them evenly into your tomato sauce as you go.  Do not stir.  You may break up the meatballs.  Instead, take the pot by the handles and swirl the meatballs around a bit to evenly coat with sauce.  Cover and continue to simmer giving it a swirl every now and then.

Pesto.  Before you prepare the pesto, place a large pot of water on high heat.  For a quick and efficient method you may place all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and whizz.  Otherwise, chopped and mince your ingredients and place them all in a bowl and stir.  When the water is boiling cook your pasta according to the package instructions.

When pasta is done, drain and return to the pot.  Toss the pasta with the pesto. Add a few large spoonfuls of tomato sauce and toss.  Serve with a little more sauce, meatballs and parmesan.

Serves 3 with leftover meatballs.

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