According to America’s Test Kitchen, Pestocado is the “hottest new ‘it’ sauce.” Avocado replaces the cheese in this full-flavored pesto. It was creamy and delicious.
The recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook, More Mediterranean, via americastestkitchen.com. I modified the method and used linguine fini, Meyer lemon, walnuts, and two garlic cloves. Easy and great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 T table salt, for cooking broccoli and pasta
12 to 16 ounces broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound spaghettini, or spaghetti
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (I used Meyer lemon)
1/4 cup (4 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
freshly ground black pepper
Heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop.
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon table salt and broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add florets and cook until stalks and florets are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to colander set over bowl (do not discard boiling water). Let broccoli drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes; set aside.
Add pasta to reserved boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
Process 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, avocado, basil, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and coarse salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Add pesto to pasta in pot and toss until sauce evenly coats pasta, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.
Stir in remaining broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with extra oil, as desired. Serve.
My kids are back in school! I can get back to sharing dishes that we enjoyed this summer (and probably last spring as well). I have quite a few to share. 🙂
This is a fabulous, restaurant-indulgent, late summer pasta dish. The real beauty of it is that it could be made in any season to bring back the taste of summer. It was also quick and easy to prepare- the best combination. The cheese adds creaminess to the finished dish but can easily be omitted for a vegan version.
This recipe was adapted from Bringing it Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox. I used grape instead of cherry tomatoes, bucatini instead of spaghettini, and modified the proportions. I am definitely going to make this dish year round. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 pound bucatini, spaghettini, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
1 small red onion or 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds (about 3 pints) grape or cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups loosely packed torn basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2-4 T finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3/4 cup (6 oz) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
coarsely ground black pepper
Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. (Simmons recommends 2 T of kosher or fine sea salt in 4 quarts of water.)
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet or wide, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes, then stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the tomatoes have burst, 6 to 8 minutes.
Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta.
Add the pasta, along with the reserved pasta cooking water, to the pan with the sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pasta is coated, about 30 seconds, then stir in the basil and parsley.
Divide the pasta among serving plates. Dollop with the ricotta and sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.