Recipe | The Shavuot pasta on the laundry line? Yep!

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ROTTEM LIBERSON, THE JEWISH FOOD SOCIETY

This recipe was originally published by our partner, Jewish Food Society

As a young girl, Rottem Lieberson always knew when the spring festival of Shavuot was approaching. Her grandmother Hanom would make fresh pasta and hang long strands of it on the laundry line outside of her window. Rottem still remembers seeing the pasta drying in the sun on her way home from school.

For the holiday, Hanom would mix the pasta with lentils and beans, load it with fresh cilantro and dill, and toss it with goat’s milk yogurt. She would then top the final dish with kashk, a fermented and dried yogurt that’s formed into a ball and grated like parmesan, which she sourced from Tehran or Arab grocers in Israel.

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The recipe is one of many Hanom brought with her to Israel from Iran when she immigrated as a widowed mother of 10 children in 1955. The pasta was reserved for Shavuot and “if we were lucky,” says Rottem, one other time during the year.

It’s a recipe that’s from a different age, adds Rottem, who is an acclaimed cookbook author. Today, Shavuot is celebrated with lavish spreads of cheeses and cakes across Israel. But, “It wasn’t like that when I was a child,” Rottem explains. “This is the holiday that celebrates the earth.”

Her grandmother would always serve the pasta alongside a salad, bread, and a watermelon from her personal stash. “She used to put like 20 watermelons under her bed… in the dark and eat them one by one in the winter,” recalls Rottem laughing lightly.

Today, with the help of store-bought pasta, Rottem serves her grandmother’s recipe on Shavuot — and whenever she craves it, no luck required.

Last fall, Rottem shared a complete Persian Rosh Hashanah menu from her kitchen and Hanom’s including Sweet Challah with Caramelized Quince, Red Cabbage, Date and Beet Salad, Dolmeh Beh (Stuffed Quince with Beef and Cardamom) and much more. Check out the full menu here.

Pasta with Yogurt, Beans and Herbs

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While she isn’t certain, Rottem believes this family recipe is a riff on ashe mast, a Persian soup made with rice. Here, the dish is made with pasta and is creamy, but shy of a soup. In her grandmother’s home, it was always topped with kashk, a fermented and dried yogurt that’s grated like a block of parmesan. It can be difficult to source in the US, so Rottem recommends using blue cheese in its place for a sharp and salty punch.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Total Time: Overnight soaking (optional) + 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup dried black beans or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup black or green lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
32 ounces goat yogurt
⅓ cup water
1 bunch fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 bunch fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 ounces roquefort cheese (or any other blue cheese), crumbled
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound dried penne pasta

Preparation
1. If using dried black beans, soak the black beans overnight in a bowl completely covered with water. Rinse and drain the beans. Place them into a medium pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and reduce the heat to medium low and cook the beans on a simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and set the black beans aside.

2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the lentil and stir. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook on a simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.

3. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes until softened and golden. Add the turmeric and stir, cook for 1 more minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

4. Add the yogurt and ⅓ cup of water into a large and deep pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

5. Add the cilantro or parsley and dill, garlic, cooked or canned black beans and lentils and stir. Add the salt, pepper, roquefort and lemon juice. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.

6. Cook the pasta in a separate pot according to the instructions on the package and drain.

7. Add the cooked pasta into the yogurt sauce, stir well, and cook for about 2 minutes.

8. Pour the pasta mixture into a serving bowl and garnish with the fried onions and a drizzle of olive oil.

9. Serve the pasta hot immediately.