This is another recipe I learned from my local Turkish community. It is very easy and quite tasty. I once served it at a multi-ethnic potluck. I walked away from the table only to return when I noticed a group of Turkish friends hovering around the dish. Apparently, sautéing of the tomato paste is an important aspect of this dish, and I had executed it perfectly.
Here I will confess that my sisters are much more talented in the kitchen than I am. My older sister instructed me in the making of this dish when I first learned it. I attribute my success to her patient demonstrations and this dish’s similarity to a Lebanese dish I make called Macaronis bil Laban.
What I love about this dish is the sweet intensity the tomato adds to the creamy yogurt. Texturally, this dish is also very satisfying. I hope you try and enjoy it.
1 package pasta shells (gluten free or standard)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp red pepper, optional
1 stick butter or margarine
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 container whole milk yogurt
1 crushed or minced clove garlic
dried mint, optional
Cook shells according to package instructions.
Mix the garlic into the yogurt and refrigerate. Melt butter with olive oil in a sautee pan. Add tomato paste and red pepper. Sautee until tomato paste is fragrant and begins to look like little dots. The butter and paste should separate.
Put shells in a bowl. Top with a bit of yogurt sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of mint, if desired. Add a dollop of tomato paste and a couple spoonfuls of the butter.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a salad on the side.