Creamy Linguine with Mint, Thyme, and Lemon

Posted by on Monday May 13th, 2013 | Print

You know how when you learn a new word, you suddenly hear it everywhere–in books, articles, and coming out of people’s mouths? Or how, when you make new friends, you don’t know what you spent your Saturdays doing before you met them? When I was in school, I loved the convergence of different subjects, how what you were learning in math could somehow become relevant in history class.

Since I’ve been exploring Middle Eastern food, I’ve noticed newly learned techniques pop up everywhere and flavor combinations that first seemed improbable appear completely sensical. Had I missed the fact that you could temper yogurt with egg or flour and use it to make a creamy soup? Is sumac the new smoked paprika?

Yet the more I read, taste, and cook, the more I notice continuity between what I already enjoy and what’s eaten in Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, and Egypt. In fact, the third time I read about that yogurt soup in Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, I realized it bore a similarity to one of the first dishes I ever got in the habit of cooking for myself, a pasta dish I wrote about in In the Small Kitchen, which uses egg, yogurt, and pasta water to create a creamy, slightly tangy, no-cook sauce for pasta. In fact, one version of the soup actually has vermicelli noodles in it.

Taking inspiration from the convergence of an old favorite and a new-to-me technique, I made a 2013 version of my old favorite yogurt pasta. I cut down on the Parmesan cheese, three tablespoons of which has always seemed so comforting, and ramped up the flavor with herbs–mint and thyme–and scallions. I used fresh versions but you could use dried.

I’m thrilled with the result, and thrilled to have a new, easy dinner for one that’s comforting yet bright.

This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Sargento, called Flavor Journey. Throughout the year, with the support of Sargento, I’m exploring Middle Eastern cuisine–at home, in Brooklyn, and wherever the flavors may take me. Sponsored posts let me do some of my best work on this blog, and I only ever work with brands whose values and products mesh with the content I love to produce for you. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.

**Recipe**

Creamy Linguine with Mint, Thyme, and Lemon
Serves 1; easily doubled

Ingredients
4 ounces linguine
1/3 cup whole milk yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint, plus a few leaves for garnish
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Zest of half a lemon
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, following the package directions, until al dente–about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat together the yogurt, egg, the Parmesan, the salt, mint, thyme, lemon zest, and chopped scallion.

Just before the pasta is done, add 2 tablespoons of hot cooking water to the yogurt mixture and whisk it in to temper the egg. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the yogurt mixture. Toss to combine. Top with a little more Parmesan, a few grinds of black pepper, and some mint leaves.

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  • http://twitter.com/wvanillasugar Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This sounds so lovely!!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thank you :)

  • Caitlin

    Really gorgeous recipe!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thank you!

  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    Ohhhh, this looks SO GREAT. I’m going to try something very simliar for dinner tonight, as I have most of the ingredients on hand. Thanks!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thanks, Lori! Hope you like it – can’t wait to hear about your variation!

  • marie @ little kitchie

    Would love a huge bowl of this for dinner!

  • http://cookieandkate.com/ Cookie and Kate

    Gah, I love sumac. I also love the concept of your new series. It’s so fun to take an idea from one recipe or culture and apply it to another dish.

  • http://www.foodmanna.blogspot.sg/ Foodmanna

    So fresh, so light, so yummy!

  • Colleen Ciullo

    Right up my alley! I love creamy, easy-to-prepare pasta dishes with fresh herbs. Maybe it’s the season, but I’d do a nice beet salad on the side.

  • Chelsea

    This looks amazing. I love fresh mint in dishes!

  • Libby

    Very summery! I am not a huge yogurt fan and still liked the recipe ok, but if anyone else doesn’t like yogurt and still wants to try it, I think you could do a half and half milk or cream to yogurt and it would still be great.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Great idea, Libby – thanks for sharing!

  • Jen

    I made this after you posted it and it was so easy and delicious. The only thing I will change next time I make it (and there will be a next time!) is to add a protein such as grilled chicken or shrimp. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Retnan

    Sounds delicious, except for the scallion.

  • Mar

    im going to try this tomorrow !! (:

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Hope you enjoy!

  • Sarah

    Love the recipe but Parmesan cheese is never Vegetarian. The rennet in Parmesan is always animal in origin. A substitute hard cheese that is suitable for vegetarians would need to be used. https://www.vegsoc.org/saycheese#.UqN70_RDuCI Rennet is an ingredient in all cheeses. It is either animal in origin or not. Look for the ‘suitable for vegetarian’ statement or the Rennet in the ingredients list may say ‘non animal’ or ‘microbial’ . Cheeses in the US that have a ‘K’ for Kosher symbol means its not likely to contain rennet of animal origin. :-) Hope this tip helps thanks.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Sarah–thanks for weighing in.

  • solletaire

    Made the recipe and after two bows (my husband refused to eat it), I still couldn’t decide if I liked the dish. That’s not to say it’s a bad dish (it’s very fresh and looks like it would be great for summer). It just has a very unusual flavor profile. Would not recommend if you don’t like yogurt or if you are not too huge on having some sourness into your dished.

    • solletaire

      Oh, and I recommend having the dish after it’s cooled down (maybe 10 min in the fridge).