This post is brought to you by our friends at Weight Watchers, who celebrate gathering together around the table to enjoy wholesome, beautiful food.
The first day of fall is wrought with emotion -- we mourn for a summer that we thought would never end; we dread the long, cold, bitter winter; we grow giddy at the idea of red-leaved trees, corduroys, and pumpkin-everything.
Most of all, we look forward to the opportunity to start anew. Somewhere -- deep in our psyches -- we still associate autumn with going back to school, reorganizing our trapper keepers, and cleaning out our pencil cases. If there's ever a time to reevaluate our kitchen routines, it's now.
Wholesome yogurt pasta is the perfect place to start. It's a fresh take on the kind of creamy pasta we love when the weather turns crisp. Paired with a kale, apple, and toasted hazelnut salad, it will remind you of what fall cooking is all about: comfort and change (the best kind).
Serves 4, with leftover pasta
5 cups curly kale and mustard green leaves, torn into small pieces
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the bias
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
6 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 pound tagliatelle or other fresh pasta
1 tart apple
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
1 1/4 cups coarsely grated pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (see note)
We're assuming you have salt, pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
1. Prep the salad: In a large bowl, combine the kale, mustard greens, scallions, vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Mix everything together with your hands to blend the dressing and rub it into the greens. Let the salad sit while you prepare the rest.
2. Prep the caramelized onions: Heat 5 tablespoons 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.
3. Cook the pasta: Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring it 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.
4. Finish the salad: While the pasta boils, core the apple and slice the two halves very thin from stem to flower-end -- if you have a mandoline, that's the easiest way to go. Gently fold the apples into the salad so they don't break in half. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spread the salad on a platter and sprinkle it with the hazelnuts and 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano.
4. Make the yogurt sauce: Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and mix well. Add more pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your desired thickness. Drain the pasta and toss with the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle generously with the remaining cheese and top with the caramelized onions and their juices
5. Plate your dishes, and serve.
Note: If not using thick, Greek yogurt, line a colander with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl or in the sink. Add the yogurt and let it drain for 2 hours before proceeding with step 1. For a treat, seek out sheep's milk yogurt (no need to drain).
Photos by James Ransom and Food52
This post is brought to you by Weight Watchers. Need ideas for dinner tomorrow? They've got you covered. Show us what you're cooking with the hashtag #biteintolife!