Saturday, March 30, 2013

Creamy Southwest Pasta with Spicy Greek Yogurt Sauce

Okay so let me preface this by saying that I hate spicy foods.  I have no tolerance for heat of any kind.  That makes my decision to make creamy southwest pasta with spicy yogurt sauce a very interesting choice  I am not sure what it was about it that made me want to try it out.  Maybe it was the Greek yogurt; I get excited when sauces are made with that because it feels healthier so I can devour even more.  Maybe it was the smoked paprika; I just bought my first bottle of it recently and have been wanting to try it out.  Maybe it was the lime juice, the cherry tomatoes (it called for roma or heirloom but I used cherries), the sweet corn, the pasta itself - all things that I love.  It sounded great!  But... well....

So the bottom line is, I tried it out for dinner this week, and I have to say that I was not happy with the outcome.  After all, it is spicy, and I loathe anything that makes my nose run and my tongue tingle.  The heat comes from cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, and a can of diced green chiles.  Knowing that I hate spice, I eliminated the cayenne and halved the red pepper.  Unfortunately, this did not do enough to diminish the spiciness (can you imagine if I actually used all the spicy stuff it called for!?).   So it was way too spicy for me, and for my mom.  And I don't really think I am a huge fan of smoked paprika, either, actually - it kind of tastes like meat somehow.  So, creamy southwest pasta with spicy meat-tasting sauce.... not for me.

The good news, for those of you who have burned off most of your tastebuds with spicy foods, is that you might like this pasta dish.  Alex and Kenzie, who are far more adventurous than I am where it comes to heat, both liked it (Nick didn't because it had corn in it...  I know, he's a baby).  Kenz even brought it for lunch at work, and finished it off!  That made me happy, because the meal was salvageable, even if Mom and I were all set with our one helping!  So, spicy food lovers: go for it.  If you're like me, stay away!


creamy southwest pasta with spicy Greek yogurt sauce

from Tasty Kitchen


For the Greek yogurt sauce:
¼ cups Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
½ teaspoons Dried Oregano
½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoons Cumin
¼ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

For the pasta:
12 ounces, weight Medium-Cut Pasta
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
½ cups Yellow Onion, Diced
1 clove Garlic, Minced
2 whole Green Onions, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped + More For Garnish
1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels
2 pounds Tomatoes, Diced And Cored (Roma And Heirloom Mix)
1 can (4-ounce Can) Diced Green Chiles
Salt And Pepper, to taste


1) Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
2) In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the creamy Greek yogurt sauce until well-blended. Refrigerate for later use.
3) While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, garlic, green onion, and cilantro with a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and soft. Add the corn and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and green chiles and stir combine. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes begin to break down, another 3-4 minutes.
4) Add in the creamy Greek yogurt mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cooked pasta, along with the reserved pasta water. Mix well to combine.
5) Serve! Garnish with additional cilantro.

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