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ARMENIAN SURIM, SURAM OR SURRAM
Growing up in Fowler, California in the 1930’s and 40’s, this was known to us as Armenian “mac and cheese”. The recipe varied between my relatives families, but it was a simple dish of pasta, smothered in a mahdzoon (yogurt), feta cheese, garlic and butter sauce. Some in my extended family did not use cheese. In my immediate family my father liked feta cheese with everything from watermelon, peaches, plums and anything else that graced the table. Making fresh pasta for this dish was time consuming so Armenian families who emigrated to the United States found dryed pasta readily available and used the shell pasta shapes so as to hold the lovely sauce. Armenians and pasta seem to be a strange combination, but ancient Armenia was located “smack dab” on the Silk Road and I’m sure Marco Polo with his tunic stuffed with the recipe for pasta he gleaned from the Chinese passed this way and shared his new-found discovery to those along the road back to Italy.
ARMENIAN SURIM - PASTA WITH A YOGURT, CHEESE, GARLIC AND BUTTER SAUCE.
INGREDIENTS:Serves 4 − 6
● 3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced very thin
● 6 Tablespoons butter or Clarified butter, Ghee
● 2 Cup(s) Armenian or Greek yogurt
● 1 Cup(s) crumbled Feta cheese
● 1 pound large or medium shell pasta, orrichetti or other pasta that will hold the sauce.
● Fresh ground black pepper to taste
If you are going to use feta cheese, omit salt as the cheese is usually very salty
● 2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish.
1. Sautè garlic in butter or ghee,(i) do not brown (i).
2. When garlic is soft and translucent, add the yogurt slowly so as not to curdle it.
3. Add the feta cheese and stir to melt the crumbles.
4. Pour sauce over the freshly cooked and drained pasta.
5. Sprinkle the top of the dish with chopped Armenian or Italian flat leafed parsley to garnish.
6. Serve in a pasta bowl with a soup spoon.