Pasta with Greek Yogurt Sauce, Green Peas & All the Herbs

April  9, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Springiest Pasta with Green Peas, So Many Alliums, and All the Herbs —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 leeks
  • 12 scallions
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or Microplaned
  • 3 cups frozen green peas
  • 1 pound whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated pecorino
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup barely chopped dill
  • 1/2 cup barely chopped mint
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. While those sauté, boil the pasta. While that boils, add the Greek yogurt to a big bowl.
  6. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • moody baker
    moody baker
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

3 Reviews

FrugalCat July 16, 2020
Not big on peas, so I used edemame (soybeans). With shell pasta, so a few soybeans can hide inside the little pasta shells.
moody B. April 30, 2018
oh, boy. this is good. really good. i halved the recipe, skipped the leeks, didn't quite caramelize the scallions, and added a whole lemon worth of zest to the very end. this is my new favorite pasta salad. i prefer it cold.
Emma L. April 30, 2018
So happy to hear that! Love the lemon zest addition.