March 8, 2010

Pasta With Avocado And Greens

Walking to the chicken pen the other day, I was literally clobbered on the head with a falling avocado. I looked up and I couldn't see the sky from all the branches, leaves and loads upon loads of avocado fruit suspended in the air. The number of avocadoes that lay rotting on the ground ought to have been warning enough of their presence and their abundance.

It only took half an hour and Mitchell's purple container was full. It took a while to collect them because I needed the "catcher on a stick" to pull them down. I decided to leave it at that for the moment. Philomena can come and tackle them if she likes. Last time my almost seventy year old neighbour, climbed our ladder, hopped onto the chicken pen roof and used our "catcher on a stick" to get as many as she could reach. I think we filled four big cartons. No joke. Philomena took three. She guaranteed me they would be alright and that they would keep well in the fridge. She was right.

Besides we shouldn't be too greedy. We have heaps at the top of the tree for the possums, flying foxes, birds and god knows what other creatures that feed on them. All I know is that lately every night I hear at least half a dozen thuds as they hit the ground. I am taking a detour to the chicken pen for a while.

So here I am staring at the avocado picking. I am getting tired of guacamole, but oh well, another batch is coming up. I really need more ideas of how to cook with avocado - although you are not supposed to really cook them. I have been using them on every sandwich or wrap lately and they are delicious. Being organic, they are extra creamy and full of flavour that is noticeably different to the storebought ones in Woolies.

As I scanned through the latest copy of An Honest Kitchen, I noticed a pasta recipe that used avocado. Okay, let's give this a go. I must say, pasta and avocado is something I hadn't really thought about combining so I was intrigued. The great thing about the author is that she really doesn't mind if you follow the recipe to the tee or not. She is all for creating your own twist but even more into using up what you already have in the pantry and fridge as opposed to racing to the shops to get the "right" ingredients. In light of this I know she will understand and forgive me because that is exactly what I have done.

I have avocadoes, pasta, limes and green shallots. I do not have zucchini, sugar snap peas or almonds. Opening the crisper I found a bunch of asparagus, heaps of farmer's market parsley, garlic and bok choy leaves. That will do.

Pasta with Avocado and Greens
(adapted from An Honest Kitchen)

200gm spagetti
1 1/2 avocadoes, seed removed
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (my lime tree is loaded)
2 green shallots
one bunch asparagus
one bunch of bok choy leaves
one or two cloves of garlic, crushed
a handful of roughly chopped continental parsley

While the pasta is cooking on the stove, prepare the veggies. Roughly mash the avocado and pour over with the lemon or lime juice. Chop shallots; cut asparagus spears into thirds; place bok choy leaves on top of each other, roll tightly and shred roughly.

Heat a frypan to a fairly high temperature; add asparagus in a little water or if desired a little olive oil. If using oil, you will still need to sprinkle with some water to prevent asparagus from burning. Add the garlic, sautee a little. Toss in the shallots and bok choy shredded leaves; cook only till the leaves wilt. Remove from heat; throw in the parsley.

Drain the pasta, add one teaspoon of olive oil; toss in the avocado and lime juice immediately; agitate the pot to distribute the avocado; Put lid onto pot for another minute or two to help the avocado melt a little.

Complete the dish by adding all the frypan contents to the pasta; season with salt and cracked pepper if desired. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

The avocado tasted lovely and subtle but the lime brought the whole dish to life. I could taste it with every mouthful ensuring the dish retained it's freshness from beginning to end. A wonderful, healthy and vibrant dish.


  1. Mariana, you have avocadoes!

    I am immensely jealous - am addicted to them right now - but I'm even happier that you played with Kathryn's recipe. We have just been nattering about that for the last couple of days, she and I, saying that it's incredibly important for you to make it your own. GORGEOUS!

    And I adored your submissions to the Eat. Blog...event. Crossing all I can for you. X

  2. Love that you used what's in your fridge Mariana. As you say, so much better than dashing out to the shops! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the pasta - I can imagine with home-grown avocadoes it's even better.

    We have a Group Flickr pool for An Honest Kitchen now, if you're interested in posting your photo:

  3. Oh my goodness, avocado heaven! They are hands down my favorite thing to eat, and lately, my favorite thing to paint as well. I, too, had never thought of them as being in pasta, I will have to try it! I just stumbled across your blog, and am having fun perusing through all your lovely recipes!

  4. Boy do we have avocadoes Lucy. It's ridiculous. So glad you liked my own take on the recipe. It was fun; I love doing different things and seeing how they turn out. I will definitely make it again - but probably with a change or two as per usual. I wouldn't have made any submission at all if I hadn't paid you a visit and seen the comp... it's all in fun.

    Well I took a leaf right out of your book Kathryn and I used what was in my fridge. Actually, I didn't make an exception here - it is something I normally do anyway. Okay, thanks. I will visit your flickr.

    So nice of you to drop in Tumbleweed Woman. Well if you lived any closer you could eat all you like and paint as many as you could see. Hope you find something you like in your perusal.

  5. Hey I didnt see this on my blogroll! Your latest updates usually appear ...ok im off to cook now..ill come back in a while to relish ur post for dessert!

  6. OH MY Mariana...can I come and live with you? I promise i'll be good.

    you grow avocadoes like some people here (not me) grow mangoes....hanging like green gold. I know exactly what the 'catcher on teh stick' is! of course that depends on whether we're taking about hte same thing. its like a kind of hook on the end of a long pole. Yes? No?

    If it is the same...we use that here to to 'catch' fruits from trees which are too tall or awkward to climb...but who climbs trees these days anyway!

    Your Philomena climbs a ladder at 70? wow! she is one heck of a woman isnt she?

    you have such fun on your farm Mariana. Like living in a big playground. we here in teh city can only dream of even a little garden with one fruit tree. Poor us..LOL...which is why I LOVE reading about your life...its so different...

    Oh the pasta looks great and yes lime always perks thing up....oh why dont you slap on some mashed avocado on your face and hair..its a great moisturizer....altho M sure you know that already ..who am I kidding? i put mayo or yoghurt on my face when I remmeber. feels great my mind at least.

    much love,

  7. well - I've been away too long, I see! Glad to see you're new postings. That avocado crop is incredible! I've never seen so many in one place, if you can believe it. We get small piles in the grocery store, trucked in from far-off places, like Mexico or some-such warmer country. Occasionally, I have to buy one or two because despite their long journey, they are so wonderful. Recently I've been eating them, cut and tossed in lime juice with a bit of salt, pepper and smoked paprika. I pile the slices on a piece of grainy toast and melt some sharp cheddar or pepper-jack cheese on top under the broiler. It's been a good breakfast for us the past few weekends.
    I'd love to hear more about how you're using them.

  8. Yes you can come and live with me zurin but I fear your family may starve without you. Hehe. My catcher on a stick is more like a circular bowl with metal like long nails facing inwards. The fruit catches between the naily section and I simply tug it to force it to come off and then it falls into the "bowl". It's really good because I am not bruising the fruit.

    Yes Philomena is a very special lady. I will have to take a pic of her one day to show you. She still grows and tends to her own garden and it is 'massive'. She is amazing.

    We have two avocado trees zurin that are on our one and a half acre house block. I don't have to travel far to get them. We could probably grow a whole plantation on our farm and feed half of Australia because our climate is perfect for avocado growing. We haven't planted a thing on the farm yet - but we will!

    What an excellent idea about the moisturiser. It didn't occur to me at all. Must try it. I might add a squeeze of lime juice too. That way, if some slips into my mouth it won't matter. Hehehe. As always such a pleasure to see you.
    Love Mariana

  9. Gosh you sound like such a healthy lady Chelsea. I know, I know, there was a heap of them. I don't take it for granted either. I feel so fortunate to have such generous avocado trees.

    Yum. That sounds very similar to what my Hubby does actually. He loves it on toast just as you described but without the paprika. That's different. Actually I must dig up a recipe that I created and taught as part of a mezze section in one of my Mediterranean classes. It is like an avocado dip but extremely healthy. Up until this moment I had completely forgotten about it. Thanks for your comment as it has reminded me. I shall make it and then post it. It was one of you know, those "secret" recipes we keep to ourselves. So secret infact that I forgot about it. Hehe.

  10. Great recipe kido and I will be doing that one most certainly as just love pasta and advocado and lime juice so know for a fact it will be a hit with me!! We are lucky here as we get say about 6 advocados for 2.00 from the next farm so feel like we grow them ourselves even though we dont so use it so much.

    Frank used to do a baked advocado dish at one of the restaurants we had was so very popular and even though really the advocado was put into silver foil like a boat dish and baked in a hot oven at the last but filled seafood in a creamy sauce but you could use chicken or what ever couldn't you? I am sure the advocado was cooked as such just heated and the cheese sprinkle on top was browned slightly.

  11. An advocado wonderful. I bought two avacados that were grown in Mexico and I was so disappointed with them. Fresh advocados would taste so good...


  12. Crikey Gayle. That is cheap. They are very expensive in the supermarkets here. Asking up to six dollars for two or three. Isn't that a rip off! So yes, you are getting a really good deal.
    Gosh the restaurant days, seems so long ago and yet the old memory bank has retained some of the dishes and the way they were presented. You have my taste buds going now, yummo.

    I don't want to sound boastful Diane, but yes, homegrown avocadoes are simply unbelievable. Having said that, we do get lumpy hard bits in some of them that need to be removed. We do not spray or anything so they are completely natural.