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 slightly from The Glorious Foods of Greece (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2001). —Genius Recipes
4 to 6
extra-virgin olive oil
coarsely chopped onions
tagliatelle or other fresh pasta
thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (see note)
coarsely grated kefalotyri cheese, or pecorino Romano
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.
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.
Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with caramelized onions and their juices.
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.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.