As the last brown petals of my summer flowers fall, and I switch my morning lemon water for a cup of hot coffee (because let’s be real, you cannot survive school without caffeine), I must accept that summer is over, and fall is here. To bid my final goodbye (specifically to my herb garden), I decided to make avocado pesto pasta. The combination of bright greens creates a dish that celebrates the aromatics, herbs and colours of summer. You can even return to this recipe and use spring garlic when spring term arrives!
A food processor or blender — if you do not have one, no worries! See below for instructions. A large mixing bowl (preferably large in depth — trust me, you will thank yourself later for not having a whole bunch of pasta spilled on your counter).
1 cup of fresh basils
2 ripe avocados
4 cloves of garlic (yes. 4. the more, the merrier)
1 ½ – 2 tbsp of lemon juice (start with 1 ½ tbsp and add more if desired)
½ cup of virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste (add little by little, and taste as you go until the desired levels of saltiness and pepperiness are achieved)
Cooked pasta (Pasta options: Bucatini, rigatoni, pinwheels, penne or any pasta shape that can hold sauce and your fork can grip nicely, like a salad. Avoid small pasta shapes eg; macaroni, orzo, etc.)
A pinch of dried red pepper flakes
Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated, but you work with what you’ve got!)
For protein, consider shrimp or for freshness, baby tomatoes.
If you have a food processor or a blender, blend basil, avocado, garlic, and lemon juice. Continue blending and add virgin olive oil until a creamy consistency is developed; this means that it should be able to grip onto your spatula when scooping, but will slowly drip down.
If you do not have a food processor or a blender, finely chop your basil. Start by rolling your basil into a roll, and slice it into shreds; this will prevent bruising your herb (yes, basil is very sensitive, so take care of it with love) and gather the shreds into a pile to chop. Mince all four garlic cloves. Mash your avocado into a guacamole-like consistency and mix in the basil, garlic, oil and lemon juice.
Season mixture with salt, pepper and dried red pepper flakes (optional) until the desired level of seasoning is achieved. Mix with cooked pasta (refer to the instructions on the back of the pasta box). Top with cheese if desired.
If you end up with leftover avocado sauce, you can spread it on toast or bagel or pair it with salmon; adding a little more lemon and black pepper (don’t cook the sauce with the salmon!). You could even use it as a salad dressing — in this case, I recommend adding raw red onions and feta or anything salty and acidic as toppings. If you’re not feeling pasta but need something carby, toss the avocado sauce with some cooked shrimp and serve it with rice and vegetables of your choice.
As we are halfway through the busy fall term, and you find yourself unable to enjoy this beautiful herby dish, don’t worry! This dish will patiently wait for you for up to five days in the fridge, and when you are ready, it will be there to remind you of summer.