Diane Kochilas' Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions

By • November 5, 2013 • 41 Comments



Author Notes: This secret just might change your life: you can, and should, dress pasta with Greek yogurt, especially if you also then top it with caramelized onions and grated pecorino. Adapted slightiy from The Glorious Foods of Greece (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2001).Genius Recipes

Serves 4 to 6

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or other fresh pasta
  • 2 cups thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (see note)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated kefalotyri cheese, or pecorino Romano
  1. 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 and seasoning with salt to taste as you go, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. 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, not al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup 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 thickness. Drain the pasta and toss with the yogurt mixture.
  3. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with caramelized onions and their juices.
  4. Note: If not using thick, Greek yogurt, line a colander with cheesecloth and set over a bowl or in the sink. Add the yogurt and let drain for 2 hours before proceeding with step 1. For a treat, seek out sheep's milk yogurt for this.

Comments (41) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago Lauren

Delicious! Made this with campanelli pasta and my favorite Cabot full-fat Greek yogurt. I only had parmesan cheese, so that's what I used. Will definitely make again. I bet this would be awesome with some roasted red grapes tossed in, too.

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2 months ago Jodibarnett

Yum! Just made this for dinner and it was deliscous. This will definitely make it into our rotation of weeknight dinners. I used Trader Joes lemon-pepper parpardelle pasta and added a toasted bread crumb gremolata topping. Like many other reviews I used 1 cup of yogurt instead of 2.

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4 months ago Rebeccaf

This was really good, but the onions took a lot longer to cook for me. Closer to an hour. I did cheat and use my food processor to chop. So they were a bit finer than recommended. But I would think that would make them cook faster. Other than that, I followed the directions to a T. Any suggestions?

Stringio

4 months ago Robyn Lawhorne Owsley

Wonderful if leeks are substituted instead of onions!

Stringio

4 months ago Erin Aguayo

this is very, very exciting. I've been making a pasta/yogurt/pea dish out of Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem," and it is possibly the tastiest food I've ever eaten, but it also uses every dish in the kitchen and requires a lot of fresh basil, making it seasonal. Can't wait to adapt yogurt sauce in a weeknight-friendly meal. Thanks!

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6 months ago Awash907

We've made this several times the past couple of months and absolutely love it, the smell from the cooking onions is amazing. Great recipe!

Chrysanthemum

6 months ago Karin Ward

The onions are really key to this meal. They add a wonderfully sweet flavor.

Chrysanthemum

6 months ago Karin Ward

To Tasty sweet - about 12 smaller onions to get 6 cups.

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7 months ago Virginia Luppescu

Will Fat-free Greek yogurt work or are you better off with 2% or regular Greek yogurt?

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7 months ago Magit Van Schaick

Fatfree yogurt has all kinds of additives: do you really want to eat that?

Me_from_summer

7 months ago amymills

This looks very similar to the pasta my French host family makes - only they use creme fraiche instead of yogurt (of course). Leftovers, cold, with the tangy cream clinging to the pasta, are the best.

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7 months ago Millie | Add A Little

I've never seen anything like this - it seems like it would make a delicious creamy sauce! My mouth is watering haha

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7 months ago Baywife

Should Greek yoghurt be strained, or is straining only necessary with non-Greek yoghurt?

Miglore

7 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thick, Greek-style yogurt is already strained, and will work well in this recipe as is. Thinner yogurts should be strained as described in step 4. Hope you love this recipe -- we do.

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8 months ago Kristy

A new staple in my house. It's a better, healthier version of carbonara! I only had 2% greek yoghurt which worked perfectly, also added chopped bacon for last 15 minutes of onions. Ended up using 1 cup yoghurt, 1 cup HEAVILY salted pasta water and have a husband who has asked for this again tonight!!

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8 months ago Abakkeful

Not my favorite. I added some chantrelles. Other than that followed the recipe. I think the yogurt needs to be toned down to, maybe, 1 - 1.5 cups for my taste buds.

Tarte_tatin

7 months ago durun99

I agree with this. I just made it again with one 7-ounce container of Fage and everyone in the family loved it this time.

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7 months ago twinjadojo

Good to hear. I just made this, with 9% fatted Greek yogurt, expecting swoons, and was utterly underwhelmed. Any bite that wasn't laden with pecorino and onions was just pasta in yogurt. I think I'll give it one more shot with 1c. Yogurt and lots more salty pasta water.

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6 months ago Rosa Lee Gibbons

I recently saw a taste that had Fage 2% plain yogurt at the top. The next time I bought yogurt I tried the Fage and, in my opinion, they were correct. It is delicious without the strong Greek yogurt taste. I now only use Fage when the yogurt is a prominent ingredient in a recipe. When it is not I am OK with using other good but less expensive yogurts.

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8 months ago Sarah Angileri

Amazing! I'm usually turned off by warmed yogurt dishes, but the cheese adds complexity and sweetness of the onions counterbalance the tartness of the yogurt beautifully. I look forward to making this again tomorrow night!

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8 months ago liz

there is a typo in the recipe -reserved past water I know because I am making it right now- cant wait to eat it- Chef Elizabeth

Miglore

8 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks for mentioning -- just fixed this!

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8 months ago Kate M.

My yogurt sauce curdled when I added it to the pasta. I did temper it with the pasta water first though. What went wrong?

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8 months ago Liz Lantz

Kate, the same thing happened to me - would love to know if that is a sign of yogurt past it's prime (since that happens to old half and half in hot coffee) or if it's just what is supposed to happen. It was delicious but kind of ugly.

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8 months ago Sarah

I only have fat free greek yogurt. Cardinal sin, or healthy alternative?

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8 months ago Orionmar

What a fabulous recipe! I used fresh squid ink pappardelle both for color and to add an extra dimension to the flavor. After experimenting on my family, I will definitely serve this at my next dinner party!