From Portland to Jerusalem (the cookbook)

I’m a huge fan of Yotam Ottolenghi, the author of the cookbooks Plenty and Jerusalem. While I typically consume his gastronomical wonders with my eyes, rather than my mouth, I occasionally have the required ingredients on hand to actually produce a dish myself. It takes a special event, like my dad’s wedding (see ) for me to shop for all the specialty ingredients his recipes often require.

I’ve had my eye on Conchiglie with yogurt, peas and chile since I received Jerusalem for my birthday last fall. On Monday night, I realized that the stars had aligned, and I had sufficient close-enough ingredients to attempt it. My creation isn’t nearly as beautiful as Ottolenghi’s, but it tasted damn good. I’ll provide his recipe below, with my tweaks.

Updated photos from my second experience making this dish:



Ingredients (from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi)

2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

2/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lb fresh or thawed frozen peas (I used a mixture of edamame and garbanzo beans)

1 lb conchiglie pasta (I used penne)

scant 1/2 cup pine nuts (I used walnuts)

2 tsp Turkish or Syrian chile flakes (I used cayenne pepper because I have yet to replenish my spices!)

1 2/3 cups basil leaves, coarsely torn (I didn’t use nearly this much basil because my plant would not have been able to withstand such an aggressive assault)

8 oz feta cheese (I used creamy goat cheese from the farmers’ market, and not much- maybe 3 tsp)

salt and freshly ground pepper


Put the yogurt, 6 Tbsp olive oil, the garlic, 2//3 cup (100 g) of the peas in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth, light green sauce. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and chile flakes (or whatever hot spice you use) and fry for about 4 minutes, until nuts are golden brown. If you use chile flakes, Yotam says your oil should be a deep red.

Heat the rest of the peas in boiling water and drain.

Drain the cooked pasta and shake out excess water. Slowly add the pasta to the bowl of sauce– GO SLOW– or you will “split” the sauce by overwhelming it with heat. Add the peas, basil, cheese, and salt and pepper. Toss. Drizzle the oil on top of each serving. Viola!


My finished product looks quite different than the picture in the book, but like I said, it tasted fantastic. Next time, I’ll be sure to buy shell pasta, because I imagine in captures the sauce better than penne. And chili flakes would definitely have been prettier than cayenne.

One warning: this pasta, especially with all the beans I used, is super filling. Consume slowly as not to over-stuff (I can say with unfortunate authority that this makes for an unpleasant postprandial experience. Read: temporary loss of ability to function, extreme lamentation over that second bowl).

Coming up: I made a couple of spreads and a chutney on Sunday to make sandwiches more interesting. I’ll share soon.


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