I love Mediterranean & Aegean dishes, as they’re known for their use of healthy ingredients, but many dishes just remind me specifically of the sun-soaked places like Sicily, Italy; Corfu, Greece, and pretty much anywhere along the Turkish Aegean & Mediterranean (aka, the Turquoise Coast).
Ahh, I can get swept away just thinking about how peaceful those places are. Peaceful, yet teeming with life and nature and so much good food.
There’s something particular about Greek food that I favor. You can say that Turkish and Greek foods are interchangeable, but there are some differences, too. I love the simplicity of many Greek dishes, for one thing. I think this is mostly attributed to austere island life of the hundreds of Greek islands, which makes it quite interesting to think about how, for example, those who have endured mountain life were able to conjure up such simple yet nutritious meals that have been feeding them for generations. Most of the dishes aren’t fussy, either which is something I truly love.
This recipe here for Aegean Style Alfredo, is leaning on the Greek side, as I’ve not ever seen it in Turkish cuisine specifically but I have seen many a dish of Makarna with Yogurt, though not specifically like this.
I learned about it while doing some research on the Blue Zones, in particular the diet of the people of Ikaria, known for their longevity. After research many of the recipes, this one in particular resonated with me because it was very similar to one of the very first Turkish pasta dishes I ever tried, too.
This recipe is so simple, but it has taken me some experimentation to get it just the way I think it tastes fantastic and easiest to make, which is just as important to me.
To start with, choose the best noodles. Get handmade fettuccine, or something similar, if possible. If not, any type of thick noodle will do – and once you get a hang of this method, do it with just about any type of pasta that you like.
Next comes making the yogurt sauce. I’m starting with Mountain High Yogurt, for many reasons. For one, it’s a favored brand in my halal kitchen because it doesn’t contain any funny stuff (that’s a real tagline of theirs) and second, it’s a halal-certified product. It also tastes great and cooks well- so that means you don’t just have to have it as a snack, but you can also use it in dishes like this where you might not realize yogurt can be ‘cooked’ or heated.
The second thing regards how you decide to process the garlic. There are two ways you can do it- when I’m finished explaining I’ll tell you which one I prefer the most.
One way is to chop the garlic and lightly saute it in garlic…
…then add the fresh or dried herbs to the garlic and oil. With this method you have to be extremely careful not to burn the garlic or you basically ruin the taste of the entire dish. Of course doing it well enough to taste great isn’t complicated- you just cook it on low heat and very slowly, turning the heat off as soon as the herbs have had about a minute or two to infuse the garlic. This is then added to the yogurt, then mixed into the cooked noodles.
The second method- and the one I prefer the most, is to chop the garlic but keep it raw. Make the mixture of dried or fresh herbs: parsley and oregano, plus black pepper and sea salt. Add this to the yogurt with a drizzle of olive oil.
Set this aside (whether you’ve cooked the garlic or not). Cook the noodles and be prepared to move fast once they’re made. If you get homemade noodles, they do cook fast and you need to remove them as soon as they’re finished otherwise they get too pasty.
One way to prevent any stickiness is to drizzle some oil into the bottom of the bowl or pan you’re going to mix the yogurt with the noodles in. At this stage, move fast from colander to pan to prevent any lost noodles stuck to the pan or colander you’ve used.
Many recipes call for the addition of some of the pasta water to the yogurt, but I found that any water made things too watery and I really didn’t like how the dish turned out- so I’m sticking to this way, where the texture was great and so was the taste.
It it scrumptious with the addition of grilled chicken or salmon, but all alone it is a gem on its own. It’s also light enough for a summer dish but equally comforting as a winter dish, serving as a really wonderful substitute for the heavier Italian Alfredo dish which uses Parmesan and heavy cream to make the sauce.
One last addition you could make, but don’t have to- although I really like it- is to add some shaved Romano cheese on top. It is often made from goat’s milk, which gives the dish a unique flavor all it’s own and really puts that Greek Island stamp on it, too, as that is a popular ingredient not just in Ikaria but in many of the Greek islands.
So, what do you think? Will you give this recipe a try and share it with some of your family and friends? Let us know in the comments below.
Be sure to get Mountain High Yogurt to make this dish. Follow them on social media to get recipes ideas and information about their products: Facebook and Instagram, and go to this link to see where you can find Mountain High Yogurt in your area.
This recipe post was sponsored by Mountain Valley Yogurt. All opinions expressed are that of the author and not of the sponsoring company.
Greek Style Alfredo
Prepare the noodles by boiling them for the correct amount of time, according to package instructions. Work quickly so that the noodles are still hot when the yogurt is added. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of a pan or bowl in which you’ll mix the yogurt and noodles.
Serve immediately- whether alone or with grilled chicken or salmon on top or on the side, just like you might see with the Italian style Alfredo dishes, too!