Avocados have been regularly going on sale for 4/$1 and we've been taking advantage of it. It's possible to freeze avocado if you mash it and add a bit of lemon juice against browning, though at the moment I'm not very sure what I'll turn it into except guacamole.
Of course, random guacamole ingredients on hand isn't a bad thing either. But as it turns out, there is something you can do with it in a savory dish.
You see, I felt like pasta the other night but nothing quite sounded good. I didn't want dried, I guess is what it boils down to, and we didn't have any frozen. We had avocados quickly approaching over-ripeness, an old leek on its last legs and an assortment of other potential meal components. So, I started flipping through the Beard on Pasta book I picked up on a whim a few years ago.
A page caught my eye: Avocado pasta. Huh. I didn't know you could use avocados that way. Hell, I never would have thought about putting avocado chunks into a hot sauce either.
My husband thought it sounded intriguing too, so we gave it a whirl.
You know what? It turned out pretty damn good. It's rich. It's subtle. It's a lot of fun.
It was also surprisingly fast. It only took about 20 - 30 minutes for my husband to put together the pasta from scratch and only 3 minutes for it to cook. The sauce was easy, about 10 minutes, plus 5 or so to prep - the whole meal? Less than an hour!
But I have to apologize to my mom. She suggested we freeze larger portions of the beans we cook every few days. We thought it was way too much trouble to go to - but then we realized what we actually had a problem with was mashing them into little tupperwares. If you flat-freeze the cooked beans by spreading them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, they don't stick together and can be easily stored in a big gallon freezer bag, ready to provide a helping handful for any occasion. So, now we do that a lot. Thanks, Mom.
Avocado Pasta [printable recipe]
Adapted from Beard on Pasta
- 1/2 very, extra-ripe avocado, pitted and mashed well
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together well with a wooden spoon or your hands until it comes together into a soft dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. This is a very soft dough, so add more flour frequently to keep it from sticking.
Roll out with a pin or using a machine (if you are so lucky) into very thin sheets. We went with about 1/16" thickness, between 1 mm and 2 mm. Cut into 1 - 2" squares or strips or whatever you like and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. We wound up with two layers in a half-sheet pan separated by foil. Chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes or so until the pasta is firm.
While it's chilling, make the sauce below. You want to have it almost ready by the time the water is boiling because fresh pasta cooks really fast.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Drop the avocado pasta dough pieces in, stir so they don't stick to the bottom by accident, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Portion into bowls and top with sauce.
Avocado Sauce [printable recipe]
Inspired by Beard on Pasta
- 1 recipe Avocado Pasta (recipe above)
- 1 1/2 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into chunks
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup cooked beans1
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp herbes de provence
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chile pepper
- 2 ounces chevre
- 1/2 cup veggie or chicken broth, plus more to thin sauce to your taste
- salt, pepper
- grated hard Italian cheese, such as Asiago or Parmesan, for garnish
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt well.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute leek for 5 minutes until tender, then add garlic. Saute for another minute before adding tomatoes, beans, herbs and spices, and walnuts. Toss together well for another minute. Crumble chevre in, splash some white wine in if you have it, then add broth. Add more broth, if necessary, to thin sauce to desired consistency. Add chunks of avocado and stir well2.
Cook pasta for 2 to 3 minutes in the boiling water, strain and portion into bowls. Top with sauce. Garnish with grated cheese before serving.
- About 1/2 can, drained and rinsed, if not cooking beans from scratch. I used pintos here, because that's what I had. Cannellini would be an excellent choice, as would Peruano or Mayo Coba.
- Don't worry about being overly careful with the avocado.