Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Root

This Sunday will be the penultimate Farmers Market of the season, so come out despite the rain. You will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm and an abundance of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including a large selection of winter squash, leafy greens, onions, shallots, and leeks, and root vegetables such as beets, carrots, fennel, and celery root.

With my selection of root vegetables from last weekend's market, I decided to try a version of this recipe for creamy pasta topped with caramelized onions. This is the kind of recipe that is ridiculously easy (just coat pasta in Greek yogurt, of which I had just made a big batch in my new instant pot) and amenable to many variations, as long as you have enough sweet caramelized flavors to balance the tang of the yogurt sauce. We loved the notes of fennel and celery along with the caramelized leeks.

Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Root
adapted from Diane Kochilas' recipeserves 4 to 6
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small leeks
1 small fennel bulb
1 small celery root
Sea salt
1 1/2 cups (350 g) thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (see note)
1 pound pasta
1 cup coarsely grated Pecorino Romano 

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and start preheating it to 375 degrees F. Prepare the vegetables. Trim the roots and green parts from the leek, halve lengthwise, rinse well, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Trim the fennel bulb and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel and trim the celery root and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt to coat. Spread the oiled vegetables onto the preheated sheet pan. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the vegetables become nicely brown and caramelized around the edges.

2. 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. 

3. 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 and 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese. 

4. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with the caramelized vegetables. 

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