A delicious pasta dish for the end of a busy day
Posted on April 6, 2018
Now that we are into prime local avocado season, I put this pasta dish back into the rotation as one of my favorite busy weeknight dinners. It’s quick and easy. If you are like me, avocados can be a very tempting purchase. They look beautiful, are soft to the touch, and when they’re a good price, you don’t buy just one or two, but several. Then there comes that time when it’s a race between you and the avocado. You know, the “can you eat them before they all go brown” race? We’ve all been there.
Deemed one of the healthiest fats you can eat and encouraged in moderation for part of a balanced diet, I’ve been working avocados into my favorite recipes by substituting them and yogurt for traditional oils. In this simple interpretation of creamy basil pesto, I also substitute slivered, toasted almonds for the traditional pine nuts used in most pesto, but you can feel free to use pine nuts, toasted sunflower seeds, or another nut.
Simply toss all the ingredients into a food processor and combine. It makes for an easy cleanup. This dish is best served just warm, at room temperature, or cold as a salad, making it a wonderful choice for outdoor dining as our nights get warmer. Terryl Gavre is owner of Cafe 222 and co-owner of Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant; peaceloveandmayo.com
Pasta with Creamy Yogurt & Avocado Pesto
16 oz. package dry pasta of choice
½ bunch (6 oz.) basil (stems removed)
½ bunch (6 oz.) cilantro (stems removed)
1 handful (6 oz.) baby spinach
1 large ripe avocado (pitted)
2 tbs avocado or olive oil
¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove whole peeled garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper, or more to taste
1. Cook pasta, drain, and allow to cool until no longer steaming. Do not rinse.
2. Place toasted almonds, basil, cilantro, garlic, and spinach in the base of a food processor. Pour oil over the top and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined and pesto has the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper, or cheese as needed.
3. In a serving bowl, toss desired amount of pasta and pesto until lightly dressed. Top with more Parmesan cheese and, if you like, chopped cherry tomatoes.