Pasta with Yogurt, Spinach, and Sweet Onions

April 7th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Dinner, Pasta, Vegetarian

This recipe used to be our go-to for entertaining vegetarians — back when vegetarians were, you know, a rare breed. Now, thankfully, the dish has moved into our regular dinner rotation. The hardest part about it is securing the sheep’s milk yogurt — but not really, you can find it at Whole Foods or even a slightly-gourmet supermarket — then it’s just a matter of remembering to cook more onions than you think feels right. The contrast between their caramel-ly sweetness and the tangy yogurt……I don’t want to get overly precious here, but: Oh. Boy.  It’s so good that I don’t mind cooking two completely separate meals for the grown-ups and the kids, who, sadly, won’t touch it no matter how many chocolate-covered raisins and Michael Jackson youtube videos I promise them as a reward.

Can't win 'em all. Our dinner (left); the kids' dinner (right)

Pasta with Yogurt, Spinach and Sweet Onions
Adapted from Amanda Hesser, The New York Times.
3 glugs olive oil
4 yellow onions sliced
salt
1 pound whole wheat fettucini
2 6-ounce containers sheep’s-milk yogurt, drained through a coffee filter set in a strainer for at least 20 minutes
2 cups-ish fresh spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot, adding spinach during the last 30 seconds. Strain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. In the same pot, whisk together the drained yogurt with the pasta water. Toss pasta with the yogurt mixture. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Sprinkle generously with cheese and top with onions.

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 After Words // Jul 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it is outrageously delicious. You know who really loves it? My 3 year old. Who’d have thunk?

  • 2 Tea Time // Feb 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    This looks great, i want to make it. Could you tell me, the sheep’s milk yogurt ‘container’, what size please? Thanks.

  • 3 Jenny // Feb 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Tea Time: two of the 6-ounce containers! Should probably say that in the recipe. Hope you like it….

  • 4 Tea Time // Feb 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    My you’re quick, thank you! Gonna look for a 6 oz. container of that tangy dairy stuff next time i hit Whole Foods or an ethnic grocery shop. And then cry my eyes out while slicing all those onions.

  • 5 Portia M. // Feb 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I made this recipe day before yesterday. It was spectacular! That night my husband cruised into the kitchen from work, grabbed a fork and ate a mouthful right out the pot. He stopped in his tracks and came back and loaded up his plate. Success! I couldn’t find the sheep’s milk yogurt even at WF (might be too exotic for NC where I live) I used goat’s milk yogurt and it was still great. Also, while I used yellow onions, I think I’ll use vidalias next time which are a bit sweeter. Or am I imagining the difference between these onions? I also want to add a bit more spinach as I felt like we needed more green. Love your site and I look forward to each new post.

  • 6 Allie // May 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I came to this recipe after trying your pasta with caramelized onions and parmesan. I liked that recipe, but my husband wanted something with a little more sauce. So, I wound up making a combination of the two, with a twist. One part of the twist was adding bacon. The other part of the twist came out of necessity – I am living in Mexico City, Mexico and finding the yogurt is impossible. So I used Mexican ‘crema’ which is luscious and tangy and very different from yogurt or American sour cream. It turned out great – my husband loved it, as did our customers. Thanks for the inspiration to a great new addition to our menu!

  • 7 virginia // Jul 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

    This recipe is enticing me … Would you approve substituting tuscan kale for the spinach? I would cook it longer, of course. Anyway there’s a bunch of kale in our fridge which I’d love to use with pasta tonight. By the way, just discovered your website and love it. Am returning to work in September, and you’re encouraging me that I can manage work, marriage, and motherhood without sacrificing good, healthy, accessible dinners. Thank you!

  • 8 Mel // Aug 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I made this just then and substituted sheep’s milk yogurt with greek, because we had it in the fridge already – delicious! I was a massive onion sceptic as a kid, which drove my parents mad (I would find tiny chopped bits and pick them out of chunky bolognaise) I’m quite looking forward to telling my mother I just ate an onion and a half on my dinner.

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