Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta
The addition of avocado lends a lovely creamy texture to this pesto. The ripe fruit imparts richness to the sauce, while nutty roasted pepitas add a deep toasty flavor. If you can only find raw pepitas, simply toss them with olive oil and salt, then toast in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until they start to pop and turn golden brown. Shower the dressed pasta with more crunchy pepitas for a nice contrast to the velvety sauce. Leftover pesto can be refrigerated for two days; press the surface with plastic wrap to avoid discoloration (any browned areas on top should be scraped off before using). The pesto also makes a tasty avocado toast, sandwich spread or crudité dip.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ¾cup roasted, salted pepitas, plus more for garnish
- 1small garlic clove
- 1medium (ripe) avocado
- 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces), plus more for garnish
- 3packed cups fresh basil leaves (about 3 ounces), plus more for garnish
- ½cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1pound fusilli or rotini
Step 1Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Step 2Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pepitas and garlic until finely chopped. Halve avocado, discard the pit and scoop out flesh. (You should have about 3/4 cup, or 5 ounces.) Add avocado flesh, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to food processor and pulse until chunky.
Step 3Add cheese and basil to food processor. With motor running, drizzle in 1/2 cup water, then drizzle in oil until well blended, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer 2 cups of pesto to a large bowl. Refrigerate any remaining pesto for another use.
Step 4Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain pasta. Add pasta and pasta water to pesto in large bowl and toss until pasta is nicely coated in sauce.
Step 5Divide pasta among 4 bowls. Top with more pepitas, cheese and basil.