This creamy avocado-lime pasta, topped with shredded basil, is a simple, quick, and delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner!
Developing recipes has its downsides. While I am no food scientist, toying with formulas or changing ratios, sometimes things just don’t work out. Like the blueberry chess pie that I made Saturday night. It was intended to be a blog post, but the center just didn’t set. The pie is delicious, but I can’t very well pass off a recipe to you guys that results in a soupy middle. I’ll keep working on it, but this particular pie just wasn’t a blog post. I was feeling pretty perturbed by this while I was working out this morning, watching America’s Test Kitchen while climbing inclines on my treadmill. I didn’t even know what I was making for lunch at this point in time while watching one of the chefs on my new favorite cooking show make spagetti al limone.
Hmmm…..creamy lemon spaghetti.
Well, I didn’t have spaghetti, but I had angel hair. And I didn’t have lemons, but I had most of an entire bag of limes, left over from my mojito bars. I also had avocado. Creamy avocado-lime pasta it was!
I love avocado. It’s so creamy, and it feels so decadent to eat something with so much fat in it….but it’s good for you. I definitely inherited this love of avocado from my dad, who definitely inherited it from his dad. I like to wrap half of an avocado in plastic (avocados will turn brown once oxygen hits them, but if you wrap them tightly enough you won’t have too much browning) to eat on crackers, a bagel, or a tortilla for lunch at work, or mash it up and mix it with a little bit of homemade salsa to make my own version of guacamole. Limes and avocado go together like peanut butter and jelly…..if I’d had cilantro, I would have thrown that in too. I didn’t, though, so a chiffonade of fresh basil worked just fine.
The trick to eating avocado is knowing how to disassemble it. Once you know how, it all makes sense. I learned from my former addiction to Food Network, but for those of you who are not FN watchers, here’s how it goes:
- Lay the avocado on a cutting board. Flatten your hand on top of it, fingers flat (i.e. not wrapped around the avocado) to keep them away from the knife. My model here is not the best…I’d ordinarily place my palm on top, not to the side. I was trying to show the knife. Insert the blade of a knife into the side, pushing it all the way to the seed. Turn the avocado around in a circle (moving the avocado, not the knife) until you have cut all the way through. Remove the knife and twist the two halves apart.
- Hold the side of the avocado that contains the seed with a towel (again, protecting your fingers). Carefully but firmly tap the blade of the knife into the seed, then twist the knife. The seed should pop right out.
- Use your thumb and forefinger to push the seed off of the knife (being careful to approach from the top of the knife).
- Use a spoon to remove the flesh from the skin. You can score the avocado with a knife before removing, or you can wait until after you remove it (in this case, there was no need to score the avocado, since I was going to mash it).
If I had not been taking photos of this creamy avocado-lime pasta, it would have taken less than twenty minutes to throw together. It’s creamy, tangy, and delicious.
Yield: 2-4 servings
10 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
- 8oz angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 avocado
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
- juice of two limes
- zest of one lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-4 basil leaves (cut in chiffonade)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese (grated, to taste)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt liberally and add pasta to water, cooking according to package directions.
- Heat the olive oil or butter over medium in another pot. Cook the garlic just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of startchy pasta cooking water (reserve another half cup in case the pasta sticks together). Add the half and half and lime juice and simmer briskly to reduce the sauce, 5-10 minutes.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and add to the reduced sauce. Toss to coat. If the pasta is too sticky, add some of the cooking water to thin the sauce.
- Cut the avocado and mash until almost smooth (you could use a food processor, but I like to leave a little texture). Add to the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide between 2-4 bowls (2 for main dish, 4 for appetizer/side). Top with lime zest, basil, cilantro, or parsley, and grated cheese.