Monday, July 1, 2013

Pasta Avocado

The avocado is one of those foods (it’s actually a fruit) that I’ve always associated with one thing: guacamole. I guess I’ve had sliced avocados in salads or on sandwiches, but beyond that I don’t give it much thought. But I’m finding out that this creamy, rich fruit is good in many different applications.

When an avocado ripens, the flesh becomes quite soft and easily mashed or spread. This makes it ideal for a kind of pasta sauce. For those who are bored with the same old tomato-based sauces, or don’t  have the time or ingredients on-hand to whip up some type of pesto, an avocado sauce is a great way to do something different.

This pasta avocado dish comes together quickly. It almost takes no more time to make the sauce than it does to boil the pasta. It is also vegetarian friendly and great served with a salad and some really good bread.

Pasta Avocado

2 ripe avocados
3 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of one medium lemon
3 TBSP olive oil
¾ - 1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
I pound pasta (I like to use rigatoni or penne for this, but use your favorite or what you have on hand)

I start by putting a big pot of water on the stove for boiling the pasta. As the water heats up, I make the sauce. 

Zest a medium lemon and set zest aside – this will be the garnish for the top of the pasta. Then juice the lemon and set juice aside.

In a food processor or strong blender, combine the garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and blend until the garlic is finely chopped and everything is combined. 

Cut avocado in half lengthwise and remove pit. Scoop out flesh with a spoon and add to garlic/oil/lemon mixture along with the basil leaves and salt. Combine until mixture is smooth and creamy (it will be on the thick side).

Cook pasta as directed. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add avocado sauce and toss to combine.  You will notice the sauce will thin out a little from the warm pasta as it coats all the noodles. Transfer pasta to large serving bowl or platter and garnish top with lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).  Serve immediately along with grated Parmesan or asiago cheese on the side.

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