Orecchiette with Yoghurt, Spinach, Hazelnuts and Feta

Sometimes I just get stuck on a recipe. I’ll see it in a book and think, that’s weird/different/crazy/maybe delicious but I’m not sure yet, and I won’t make it for fear that what ever is weird/different/crazy/or maybe delicious will actually be awful and I’ll have wasted time and money on something I’m going to end up pushing to the back of my fridge so I can’t pretend I forgot about it until it’s too old and I have to throw it out.

I do this a fair bit. Because usually when I think something is weird and might not turn out, it doesn’t. And there are few things more frustrating than making something you think might not work, and then having it not work for just the reason you thought before you started. I’m learning to trust my gut on this.

The exception to this rule is Ottolenghi. Because he puts some things together and I think “I’m not sure about this” and then it’s always amazing.

And so with this proven track record of exceeding my expectations, I made pasta with a yoghurt based sauce.

I have been staring at this recipe since I bought the Jerusalem cookbook over a year ago.  My love affar with yoghurt is logn and well documented, but on pasta? I’m a little bit Italian and that seems pretty sacreligious to me.

Guys. I should not use my head, and instead to use Ottolenghis. I shouldn’t pretend I know better.

I don’t.

This pasta is wonderful. It’s light and creamy and tangy- the way you would expect from the yoghurt, but it’s also crunchy from the nuts, and super salty in certain bites from the feta.

I had to make a few changes to the recipe- I switched the pine nuts from the original to hazelnuts, because I had them kicking around, and inexplicably my local shop was out of frozen peas (seriously, who runs out of frozen peas?) so I used spinach instead.

The result was a pasta that was totally unexpected, and one that you should probably make right away. Seriously. Do it now.


Orrecciette with Yoghurt, Spinach and Hazelnuts

1lb Orecciette

2 cups Greek Yoghurt

4 cups Baby Spinach

¼ cup Basil, roughly torn

½ cup Toasted Hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup Feta, crumbled

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Bring a very large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously.

Cook pasta to directions on box.

Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse the yoghurt with 2 cups of spinach, the olive oil and some salt.  Mix until smooth.

Pasta is cooked, strain. Immediately mix together with the yoghurt mixture, and then toss in the basil, hazelnuts and feta.

Eat immediately.