Saturday, May 11, 2013

Recipe: Linguine with a Creamy Avocado-and-Spinach Sauce

I'm one of those people who just randomly gets hooked on certain foods. A month ago, it was Eggo waffles. A few weeks ago, it was hard boiled eggs (but only if they were freshly boiled and still warm). The past week, it's been almonds and those little tiny chocolate liquor bottles with real liquor inside (random, I know). Another thing I've been eating a lot of lately is avocado—avocados are rich and creamy with a delicate flavor and I've been eating them like it's my job. So, when I found a pasta recipe that involved using avocados to make a creamy sauce, I was all over it.

Serves: 4-6
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Special equipment: Food processor


  • 1 box (16 oz.) linguine or other long pasta 
  • 1/2 reserved pasta water, as needed (to thin the sauce)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 jalapeno 
  • 1/4 cup packed basil (approx. 2 packages of pre-packed basil)
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grated Italian cheeses, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions (approx. 9-11 minutes; remember to save some of the pasta water after the pasta has cooked). While the pasta is cooking, add the avocado, lime juice and zest, garlic, jalapeno, basil, spinach, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a food processor and pulse to blend, until smooth. Add a little pasta water, if needed, to slightly thin out the sauce. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot, then add the sauce and toss to combine. Serve topped with grated Italian cheese, as desired.

When my dad tasted this sauce, his response was "Ooo! It's like guacamole. Kinda." Yeah. It kind of is, Dad. This sauce is creamy and fresh-tasting, with a little kick of heat from the jalapeno, and you could probably just as easily pour it on a taco or blend it into salsa to create an all new dish. And, really, besides being delicious, it's pretty healthy too. Avocados are fatty, but they're a good fat, and you get a solid serving of veggies with the spinach and basil added in too. Add chicken, shrimp, or even bacon to add a little more protein to this dish. 

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