Avocado in pasta? YESSSSS.
Ok, taste is definitely subjective, but I happen to really like it. I add in little bits of cold avocado on top of the hot pasta and it sort of melts right in, adding a creamy texture without the use of butter or cream. It’s healthier and delicious. I don’t do healthy very often, but when I do, I try to make it taste fat.
If you don’t like avocado, or don’t want it in your pasta, no judgment. Just leave it out. No need to substitute with anything but if it were me, I’d add in a dab of butter at the end – always gives it a nice sheen and rich taste. YUM.
I also recommend a good quality non-stick pan for this, so you can create a nice thin sauce without worrying too much about the garlic burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan. That is the worst fate in my opinion. Oh and one thing I would love to add next time: fresh mozzarella or burrata. That sounds so wonderful but I was trying to take it easy on the cheese so I just sprinkled a bit of parm on top at the end.
Linguine with Pancetta, Broccolini, Cherry Tomatoes, and Avocado
- 4 stalks of broccolini, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices thick-cut pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, divided
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 1/2 lb dry linguine pasta
- 1 avocado, sliced in half and sliced again crosswise
- Finely grated parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add broccolini and blanch for 2 minutes. You want the broccolini to still have a crisp bite to it and be a bright green color. To maintain this, fill a large bowl with ice water and drop the broccolini straight into the icebath to stop the cooking process. This retains the color and crispness of it. Set aside.
- Clean out that pot and use it to cook the pasta. Add water and season with 1 tsp of Kosher salt. While the water is coming up to a boil for the pasta, prep the rest of the ingredients/sauce.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add pancetta. Let cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. You don’t want it to be super crispy, since it will continue to cook as you add layers.
- Add tomatoes to the pan and stir around to coat in the oil. They will start to blister and some will burst open as they cook. This is what you want, don’t be scared! While you wait for this to happen (while the tomatoes are cooking) add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook according to package instructions (usually 8-10 minutes for al dente).
- When the pasta is almost done cooking, add the broccolini to the pan with the tomatoes and pancetta. Add the 1/2 tsp salt and garlic and stir to combine. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add a pinch of chili flakes if you desire.
- When the pasta is done, take a set of tongs and transfer it directly from the pot into the saucepan with pancetta, tomatoes, broccolini, and garlic. Add a a cup or so of pasta water too – this is the key to any pan sauce is a little bit of starchy pasta water.
- If you desire, add the cold pieces of avocado at this point and stir to melt into the pasta and create a sauce. Keep in mind this sauce won’t be thick but it will be a nice tomato-y, avocado-y and garlick-y gloss on each and every strand. Top with some finely grated parmesan cheese, butter (if you want), freshly cracked black pepper and voila! A super light, satisfying, Summer-inspired pasta.