A springy take on Diane Kochilas' Genius Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Onions. This version stars other alliums—leeks and scallions, garlic and chives—plus lots of green peas. I like full-fat yogurt best here, but low-fat works, too. If there are leftovers, you can serve them cold—like pasta salad—at cook-outs or on picnics or, you know, just at your desk. —Emma Laperruque
Cut away the fibrous, tough green tops from the leeks. Split them in half lengthwise, then roughly chop. Wash obsessively, then dry (these hoard a lot of grit). Finely chop the white parts of the scallions, then roughly chop the green.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and a big pinch salt. Sauté, stirring every so often, until starting to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and continue to cook—lowering the heat as needed—until caramelized and jammy, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic toward the end.
Meanwhile, set a large pot of water over high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, or enough to make it very salty. Bring to a boil.
When the leeks and scallions are almost done, add the frozen peas to the boiling water. Blanch for about 1 minute. Scooch the leeks and scallions to the exterior of the skillet (so they form a pseudo-halo). Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-low. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peas to the skillet. Let fry for a moment, then toss with the leeks and scallions.
While those sauté, boil the pasta. While that boils, add the Greek yogurt to a big bowl.
When the pasta is almost done, snag 1 cup or so of the salty, starchy pasta water—this will help create your sauce. Add a big splash—figure about 1/4 cup—to the yogurt and stir. Add the sautéed vegetables and stir. Drain the pasta, add that, and stir. Add half the cheese, the chives, and half the herbs, and stir. Add more pasta water, if needed, to create a lovely sauce (remember: it will thicken as it cools!). Season to taste with salt. To serve, top with the remaining cheese, herbs, and red pepper flakes. P.S. This is wonderful hot—and warm and room temp and cold, too.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.