Of course we are. Avocados are legit, pretty amazing. Tasty, easy to prepare, full of those healthy fats we can’t get enough of, the belle of the plant-based ball. But unless you’re talking toast, avocados don’t get a whole lot of upfront and center screen time at say, dinner. I’m not saying I’ve never sat down to some avo-toast on a Monday night when more complicated forms of cookery seem beyond my grasp (re: lazy), but other than that, avocados only ever play a very supporting role in my evening meals. So how do we ramp up the obsession? What would put avocados over the edge and send them straight to prime time? Well, perhaps if we paired them with an already established star in its own right. Enter pasta. OMIGOD, it’s like the celebrity couple we’ve all been waiting for – approachable but on trend, indulgent yet fresh, all the carbs with all the good fats. It’s a combination that’s totally beautiful AND totally dinner-worthy.
15 Minute Avocado Pasta
Servings: 4 Time: 15 MINUTES (OBVI)
A note about dukkah. Dukkah is an Egyptian condiment made from herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds. It has made its way into popular culture and by that I mean I saw it at Trader Joe’s. I picked up a jar and now put it on nearly everything – eggs, toast, grilled meats, salads, soups, and this pasta. It adds flavor of course, but also a nice, earthy crunch. I totally recommend it, especially for this dish, but don’t feel like you have to run out and buy a jar right this second. I think the main takeaway for this recipe is that some crunch and texture would be nice. So if you’re not on the dukkah train, try some crunchy breadcrumbs, or toasted nuts, or how about those fried onions in a can that you only ever see at thanksgiving on green bean casserole…yeah, those are killer.
1 lb dried pasta (I used spaghetti)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 C parsley (or a big ol handful, small, tender stems are fine)
¼ C tarragon, no stems
2 C baby spinach (or two big handfuls)
1 avocado, peeled and pitted, roughly chopped
¼ C plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
1-2 T water
red pepper flakes
optional garnish: dukkah, grated parmesan or pecorino, chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon wedges
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Then salt it aggressively (like a handful or so).
Drop your pasta into the boiling water and stir for about 30 seconds to submerge all the pasta and make sure it’s not sticking.
Meanwhile, in your food processor or big, scary, powerful blender, add the garlic, scallions, parsley, tarragon, and spinach. Pulse until everything is chopped fine.
Add the avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil and kosher salt. Process until smooth, adding the water to thin it out as necessary. I used 1 tablespoon, but I think depending on how heavy handed you are with the spinach and how big your avocado might be, you might need another. When it’s done you should have a creamy sauce that’s a little thinner than hummus, but not quite pourable.
Now back to your pasta*. You should taste to see if it’s close to al dente. You won’t be cooking the pasta in the sauce very long at all, so you want to get it to where you want it before draining.
Reserve 1 cup of pasta-cooking water and then drain your pasta into a colander. Then return it to the pot, which is now off heat, and add the avocado sauce. Toss to combine, adding pasta water gradually to bring it to a saucier consistency. Toss for about a minute until you have a very creamy, very green pasta. Season to taste with salt.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and garnish as your heart desires.
*If the idea of making the sauce in the time it takes the pasta to cook fills you with molar-grinding anxiety, just make the sauce first (no need to multitask). Then you can give the pasta your full attention. In fact, the sauce has enough lemon juice in it that you could make it ahead and stash it in the fridge for a couple hours if you wanted.