Some kitchen activities have a reputation for being difficult — making risotto, working with yeast, stuff like that. Somehow I’ve never had any trouble with either of those things, but you know what I can’t do to save my life? Pick out an avocado.
Does anyone else have this problem? Why are avocados so darn tricky? I usually do my grocery shopping on a Saturday or Sunday, and I always pick out avocados that are firm but that give slightly when you squeeze them. That’s right, right? But then, whether I try to use those avocados on Monday or Thursday, they’re always – always! – either too firm or too mushy. I’ve had avocado perfection like one time, ever. Lame.
In fact, this pasta necessitated a last-minute trip to the grocery store on a Wednesday night because my dang avocados were all brown inside. I mean, #firstworldproblem, sure, but annoying nonetheless. Even so, I’m glad I went back for non-yucky avocados, because this pasta was really good. Not to mention basically the healthiest thing you can put in your body. Right? I’m right.
AVOCADO-SPINACH PASTA (barely adapted from Perry’s Plate)
8 oz whole-wheat pasta (I used brown rice spaghetti)
1 tbsp butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
10 oz fresh spinach
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup grated freshly grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
splash white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1. Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. When it’s finished, drain pasta from the pot, setting aside about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot and set aside.
2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, then add spinach to the saucepan (pan will be full). Cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook for 4-5 minutes or until the spinach is completely wilted.
3. Add yogurt, avocado, and 2-3 tbsp of the reserved pasta water to the spinach mixture. Blend with immersion blender (or, if you don’t have one, transfer to a food processor or a blender, blend well, and return sauce to the pot). Stir in cheese, basil, and vinegar, adding more pasta water if it seems too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
4. Toss pasta with sauce. Serve warm (or room temperature! or cold! it’s all good), sprinkled with more cheese.
This was the best healthy-healthy-healthy meal I’ve made in a long time. And the leftovers were great for lunch the next day!