Turkish-Inspired Pasta With Pistachios and Yogurt 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Sep 19, 2012

Sandy Tallant's "lifelong passion" for food has been fueled by global travel, an Italian grandmother and a mother-in-law in Louisiana. Until about a year ago, she was an urban planner; now retired, she's working as a cooking instructor and doing some writing: "I have four cookbooks in the works." She says the dishes she teaches in her classes are "reinterpretations of new flavors that have excited me as I've traveled." Her class topics include Turkish, Italian, south Louisiana and holiday cooking.

Time spent living in Turkey led her to create this dish. You won't find it on a traditional Turkish table, she says: "It's one that I came up with, a more modern interpretation of Turkish ingredients."

We've suggested using fettucine, but the sauce works well with a variety of pasta shapes, so you can use your favorite.

Make Ahead: The nut-and-cheese mixture can be prepared a day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Let it sit at room temperature to take the chill off before using.

Servings: 4
  • 2 to 4 large cloves pressed garlic
  • 3/4 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachio nuts (about 3 ounces shelled nuts or 6 ounces with shells)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 2/3 cup whole-milk Greek-style yogurt or drained yogurt (may substitute creme fraiche or sour cream; do not use a nonfat dairy product), or more as needed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces fresh fettuccine or 8 ounces dried fettuccine (may substitute a favorite pasta shape)


Combine the garlic (to taste), pistachios, oil (to taste), lemon juice, cheese (to taste) and parsley in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground and just beginning to turn into a coarse paste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl. Stir in the yogurt, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; transfer it to a colander to drain.

Add the pasta to the yogurt sauce and toss to coat; if the pasta seems dry, add a little more yogurt. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately, with more grated cheese at the table for serving, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by cooking instructor Sandy Tallant of the District.

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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