I really love pasta, but when eating out in restaurants, it's usually a diet buster. So many restaurants drown their pastas with thick, creamy sauces. Even if they don't do that, there's still usually a copious amount of butter.
I was reading recently about ways to achieve creamy texture in dishes without using cream and avocados were mentioned, sparking my idea to use avocado as a sauce for a Mexican-inspired pasta dish.
Sure, avocados are not a low-fat food. A cup of avocado, contains 21 grams of fat, but only about 230 calories. Compared to a cup of heavy cream, which has 820 calories and 88 grams of fat, it's a markedly better choice. It's better fat too: most of the fat in cream is saturated, while avocado has very little saturated fat.
It worked rather well. In the food processor, when blended with a little of the past cooking water, the avocado turned into a thick sauce with a dense creamy texture. When stirred into the finished pasta sauce, it provided just the right creamy richness I was looking for, but without the cream.
I was really pleased with how this dish turned out. The smoky-spicy chorizo was the perfect contrast to the richness of the avocado. A sprinkle of queso fresco and fresh cilantro provide additional flavor.
|I used a food processor to chop pre-cooked chorizo to a texture similar to what I'd have gotten if I'd started with raw chorizo.|
I intended to make this with raw chorizo, but accidentally bought the pre-cooked kind. It actually worked just fine though. After carefully removing the casings, I chopped the sausage and pulsed it a few times in the food processor to obtain a texture similar to that of fresh cooked chorizo.
Mexican Avocado & Chorizo Pasta
1 lb. penne rigate pasta
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 Vidalia sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
12 oz. cooked chorizo, casings removed and crumbled (if using raw chorizo, brown before sautéing the onions)
2 ripe hass avocados
4 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking until the onions are browed, another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt, oregano and cumin. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the crumbled chorizo and cook until reheated (chorizo will turn brown). Turn off the heat.
3. Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed and scoop the flesh out and transfer to a food processor. Pulse a few times, add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and process until very smooth.
4. Add the cooked pasta and pureed avocado to the onion-chorizo mixture and stir to combine. Add the additional 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water and stir until the pasta is evenly coated with avocado sauce. Adjust seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls topped with queso fresco and cilantro.