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A recipe by happenstance – Celery pasta with yogurt dressing

April 14, 2011

Today, I looked into the fridge without having a clue of what to cook. There was a huge bunch of celery, because I had recently cooked lasagna and had used only one stalk for the meat sauce. (Oh I can imagine all those Italian cooks rolling their eyes right now and thinking “What the hell has celery got to do with a lasagna?” – Well, I don’t claim to make original Italian lasagna, I simply prefer some vegetables like carrots and celery in my meat sauce.)

However, I ended up with lots of remaining celery. So I searched the internet for celery recipes. There were things like celery soup or waldorf salad, but nothing really mouthwatering for me today. After re-examining the fridge, my selection of ingredients had extended by the addition of yogurt, carrots and some leftover precooked spaghetti.

I craved for something fresh, so I had taken the yogurt, and still filling, something with carbohydrates, so I had taken the spaghetti. My first idea was to make some kind of celery-spaghetti salad with yogurt, chopped carrots and parsley. But then, while chopping the celery, I decided to stir-fry the celery quickly for letting it develop an a little milder, rounder flavor. I didn’t want it to be raw with its typical intense, nearly penetrating taste, but also not completely cooked, because I thought its crunchy texture would fit well with the soft noodles and the creamy yogurt (and it actually did fit very well ;))

Then, while roasting the celery, I thought it would be nice if the pasta was warm, too, so I added the pasta. But then, despite continous stirring, the pasta started to stick on the bottom of the cooking pot. The first thing that came into my mind was – deglaze it! But with what? I didn’t have white wine in the kitchen (which could have fit pretty well, now that I’m thinking about it), water would thin down the taste (which I definitely didn’t want!) and cream … well I couldn’t imagine cream as a nice addition to a supposed-to-be fresh and light pasta dish with yogurt sauce. So I took a little chicken bouillon, and that wasn’t the worst idea I ever had. The bouillon flavor blended into the celery flavor but didn’t overlay it at all.

While cooking and and fixing that little accident, I had decided not to make a celery and spaghetti salad but celery pasta with a yogurt dressing. All in all, after several spontaneous ideas and some coincidences, the dish ended up to be so tasty that I’m now writing this post about it. If you’re interested, enjoy re-cooking this pasta meal – it is truly refreshing with the vegetables, really nice for a spring day 😉

Celery pasta with yogurt dressing
serves 2
Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
200g celery
160g precooked spaghetti
200ml chicken bouillon (or vegetable bouillon)
300g yogurt
2 carrots
2 good handfuls parsley
lemon pepper (or lemon zest and pepper)
salt
freshly ground nutmeg
  • Clean and peel celery and carrots. Cut the celery into 0,8cm-slices and chop the carrots. Rinse the parsley and chop roughly.
  • In a medium-sized pan, heat the olive oil. When hot, add the celery chunks and let roast for a 3-5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir now and then, if you don’t want the celery to burn 😉
  • Add the precooked spaghetti, let roast while stirring continuously. After 2-3 minutes or as soon as the spaghetti begin to stick in the pan, add the warm chicken bouillon and mix in. Season with lemon pepper, put a lid on the pan and remove from the hot stovetop.
  • In a bowl, combine yogurt, chopped carrot and parsley. Season with one or two good pinches of (preferably freshly ground) salt and a little nutmeg and serve with the hot pasta.

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