The Creamy, Tangy (& Slightly Unusual) Pasta Dinner That I Absolutely Love

updated May 29, 2019
Kitchn Love Letters
Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas & Chile

This fast-and-fancy pasta dish, from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem, has become a favorite in my household.


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At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. And we decided to start sharing some of our absolute favorites with you. Here’s a peek into what we’re cooking and eating in our own kitchens.

Pasta is on weekly rotation in my household for, I’m sure, the same reasons it is in yours: It’s easy, it’s comforting, and it’s something everyone agrees on. During the cold winter months, my go-to pastas are saucier and heartier (think: eggplant Bolognese or baked mac and cheese) than their lighter summer counterparts.

But there are times when I don’t want pasta night to be synonymous with a “night off” from how I typically eat. I follow a healthy plant-based diet, and most of my dinners revolve around whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, so it’s nice when pasta night can fit into this type of eating. Enter: this Yotam Ottolenghi pasta dish (from his cookbook Jerusalem), which is light, fresh, and packed with protein while still satisfying all my winter pasta cravings.

(Image credit: Jonathan Lovekin)

A Love Letter to Hot Yogurt Sauce (Yes, Hot Yogurt Sauce!)

Forget marinara and Alfredo. You can have your pesto. I’ll be over here with my silky-smooth yogurt sauce, which is simply the best thing to ever coat al dente noodles. Why? A base of Greek yogurt makes for a slightly tangy and ridiculously creamy pasta sauce, without the richness of heavy cream. Garlic lends its distinct pungent flavor, thawed frozen peas give it a pretty green hue, and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil thins it out just enough to create a perfectly silky consistency. Best of all, it comes together in seconds in the food processor.

After the noodles cook in plenty of salted boiling water (remember, add more salt than you think), you’ll drain them and toss them directly into the bowl of sauce. I love Ottolenghi’s choice of conchiglie pasta — or shells — in this dish, because they act as little cups, allowing the sauce to pool inside so you get more sauce with every bite. Any size shell will work; it’s the shape that’s important.

But Wait — This Pasta Dish Gets Even Better

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with the yogurt sauce. But that’s not the only thing I love about this dish. As the pasta cooks, you’ll cook the pine nuts and chile flakes in the remaining olive oil until the nuts are golden and fragrant and the oil has turned deep red, essentially creating the easiest-ever homemade spicy chile oil while simultaneously toasting the nuts. Ottolenghi recommends a number of different dried chile flakes to use, from Urfa chile to Aleppo pepper to Kirmizi biber. I most often use Aleppo pepper, but I’ve also swapped in crushed red pepper flakes with great success.

Once you’ve tossed the pasta with the sauce, you’ll add whole peas, a generous amount of torn fresh basil, chunks of feta, and salt and pepper. Starting with frozen peas means you can make this in the wintertime, and yet it feels so bright and fresh and spring-y. Divide amongst shallow bowls, then spoon the pine nuts and their oil over each serving. The spicy kick offsets the creamy, tangy sauce.

(Image credit: Jonathan Lovekin)

What to Know If You Make It

Set aside some of the sauce before you add the pasta. It’s impossible to take away sauce, but it’s super easy to add more. Because you’re adding the pasta directly to the bowl of sauce, I like to first remove a few ladlefuls of sauce. I often find I don’t need this extra sauce, and save it to drizzle over grains and roasted veggies.

Don’t worry about being too precise. This is one of those recipes that really works best as a guideline than as a strict set of rules. You can use either 2% or full-fat Greek yogurt. In the wintertime, use frozen peas, but in spring, use fresh, in-season peas. Swap some of the basil for mint, or bulk up the greens and stir in baby spinach or arugula before serving. The feta, in my opinion, is totally optional — the sauce is creamy and tangy enough without it.

Eat leftovers cold. This dish is delightful as pasta salad.

Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas & Chile

This fast-and-fancy pasta dish, from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem, has become a favorite in my household.

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 2 1/2 cups

    plain Greek yogurt

  • 2/3 cup

    olive oil, divided

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, crushed

  • 1 pound

    fresh or thawed frozen peas, divided

  • 1 pound

    dried conchiglie pasta

  • Scant 1/2 cup

    pine nuts

  • 2 teaspoons

    Turkish or Syrian chile flakes (or less, depending on how spicy they are)

  • 1 2/3 cups

    fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn

  • 8 ounces

    feta cheese, broken into chunks

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper


  1. Put the yogurt, 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas in a food processor. Blitz to a uniform pale green sauce and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. As the pasta cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes and fry for 4 minutes, until the nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, heat the remaining peas in some boiling water, then drain.

  3. Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, shake well to get rid of the water, and add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to split. Add the warm peas, basil, feta, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Toss gently, transfer to individual bowls, and spoon over the pine nuts and their oil.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, copyright (c) 2012, Ten Speed Press.

Buy the book: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi, $20