A lot of people I know would not see an avocado and think, “Wow! This would be great with pasta!” Honestly, I thought that way up until…three months ago. I was in Palo Alto for work, and I happened to be eating meals out with a bunch of vegetarians. So, we’d walk to California Avenue and see what kind of vegan/vegetarian trouble we could find. Now one thing I’d noticed before is that Californians like to serve just about everything with avocado. Scrambled eggs at breakfast? Try some avocado with that. Grilled tomato and cheese sandwich at lunch? Sure you can have that…with avocado.
Anyway, this group of vegan/vegetarians and I end up at a place (can’t remember its name, which is good since it was mediocre at best) that offered a creamy shrimp pasta dish…with avocado. Once I stopped laughing, I thought “Oh, why the hell not?” and ordered it. Like the rest of my dining experience there, it was mediocre. Everything was bland. And trying to eat those semi-warm (thanks to sitting in a bowl of hot pasta) chunks of avocado that are too soft to stab with a fork…it was a mess. But something told me there was some untapped potential.
Now fast forward a few months. I was getting back from another business trip and was spending a few days with my mother (as my father was also gone on a business trip). Being the awesome person that she is, my mother tried to have a lot of my favorite foods and drinks when I got home. She bought–among other things–ONE avocado. As it was just us girls, and as my mother and I have always had an addiction to pasta, I decided to give the avocado/pasta thing a shot.
Despite the fact that the below recipe includes both cheese and chicken, I’m putting it under the category of vegan as both ingredients are totally optional. Certainly, not every pasta dish needs chicken; and even with this experiment, the amount of cheese I used was very minimal–mostly just as a garnish.
- Pasta (I like the longer pastas and used spaghetti for this recipe)
- 1 avocado, peeled and de-pitted.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Red pepper flakes
- 3 ounces peccorino romano (optional)
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- Cook your pasta.
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In a skillet, cook the chicken to about 80% (i.e., do NOT cook it all the way).
- When the chicken has cooled, chop it into large bite-sized pieces.
- In a blender or similar instrument, mix your avocado, olive oil, salt and pepper into a thick pasta. If you’d like, you can add 1-2 ounces of cheese as well.
- Mix the avocados, chicken, and pasta in a pot. Stir on medium heat until the chicken has finished cooking. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. To serve, stir in cherry tomatoes and top with more cheese.