Friday, August 9, 2013

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino & Avocado: Rich & Satisfying Pasta from Tessa Kiros

This is a recipe that after coming across it in Recipes and Dreams From An Italian Life by Tessa Kiros, I need to keep making over and over again. My favorite thing to do with a perfect avocado used to be to eat them with a little salt and lime, but now I just want them in my pasta. Who would imagine that combining ripe avocado with garlic, red pepper, olive oil and lemon juice would be so rich, satisfying and just plain wonderful?! 

Tessa says, "People are often surprised when I serve this twist on a traditional pasta. It is simple, yet rich and delicious. The avocado has to be a beauty, otherwise forget it. You should be generous with the salt and pepper to bring out its flavor."

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino & Avocado
Recipes and Dreams From An Italian Life by Tessa Kiros
(Serves 2)

4 Tbsp olive oil (I reduce to 2-3 Tbsp)
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 small dried red chile, chopped (I use a large pinch of crushed red pepper)
1 ripe avocado, not too big
juice of 1/2 small lemon
5 1/2 ounces spaghetti
shredded Parmesan to serve
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and garlic over a very gentle heat in a small skillet to just draw out the flavor. Take care not to burn the garlic because you can ruin the flavor. When it smells good, add the chile and heat for a moment more. Remove from the heat. Halve the avocado and scoop out nice chunks into a wide serving bowl. Add the lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Pour the cooled garlic oil over the avocado and gently mix. Scoop out the pasta with a spaghetti fork directly into the bowl. Add a little of the cooking water to loosen things up and stir gently, trying to keep the avocado in chunks. Serve immediately with lots of shredded Parmesan and a nice extra grind of black pepper.

Notes/Results: Quick to make and perfectly delicious to eat. As Tessa says, the avocado must be a good one. I used a lackluster one when I was really craving this dish and was not impressed but, with a perfect avocado, it sings. For that matter, use good olive oil (I cut the amount back a little) and Parmesan too--since there are so few ingredients all of the flavors standout. I have made this about half a dozen times, adjusting the lemon and red pepper (usually crushed red pepper flakes) depending on my mood. Excellent when you want to indulge in something yummy but don't want to spend much time and hassle cooking. A keeper recipe for me. 

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. I've made pasta with avocado sauce before but have never included whole chunks of it! Definitely such an interesting (and I'm sure delicious!) idea!

  2. I love simple pasta dishes like this, and what a unique combination of ingredients!

  3. So perfect! I loooove simple pastas and every single flavor/ingredient in this one is on my drool worthy list. Gotta make this one super soon.

  4. Pam Armstrong GreerAugust 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Oh my goodness, I know I would love this!!!

  5. Joyce, kitchen flavoursAugust 11, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Hi Deb,
    This looks delicious! Using avocado in a pasta is just great! I know I would love this dish too! Yum!


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