Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tzatziki Pasta

I love a good creamy sauce occasionally... but pasta alfredo seems waaaay too heavy for a summer meal. So as an alternative, I made something close to my Greek neighborhood of Astoria's heart- tzatziki- and tossed it with fettuccine. And so said the Italian cook to the Greek dip, who needs pita when you have pasta? With cucumber and mint, it's fresh and summery, and could possibly encourage you and your friends to grab drinks at the Athens Cafe after dinner. This serves about 3-4 people.

The Whats:
* 2 cups of Greek yogurt
* 1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
* 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
* 2 tsp. lemon juice
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 tsp. dill
* 1 tsp. mint
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 box fettuccine

* For garnish: chopped black and green olives, pignoli, sprigs of dill, whatever you like!

The Hows:

1) Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth; let the yogurt drain in the colander for at least one hour. Lightly squeeze excess water from yogurt in the cheesecloth after it has drained. While yogurt drains, placed the peeled & chopped cucumber over paper towels, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and let cucumber sit for 20 minutes; rinse and pat dry.

2) Cook half a box of pasta according to package directions. As pasta cooks, mix together the drained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, mint and salt and set aside. Drain pasta, then toss with tzatziki. Garnish with olives, pignoli or dill, and serve immediately.

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