Sometimes the best meals happen when you have no plan. Or when your plan falls through, like mind did. The original idea was roasted fennel, parsnip, apple, and sweet potato served with some quinoa pasta tossed with olive oil and pecorino romano. As I went to chop my veggies I realized my sweet potato was a lost cause, extremely soft and mushy. So I decided to improvise with what we had which, even though wasn’t much, was surprisingly the perfect combination. I braised the fennel with fresh lemon pieces and roasted the parsnip. Since I only had a small parsnip and fennel bulb I needed more bulk and we didn’t have any spare veggies in the fridge to roast. Luckily we did have a ripe avocado and some fresh basil. I have read about avocado pasta in numerous food blogs but have never actually made it so I figured I’d give it a go. I blended some olive oil, an avocado, some lemon juice, and fresh basil to make a creamy sauce. This was mixed into some spaghetti with a bit more olive oil and Garlic Gold nuggets. Easy enough and quite delicious, mixed with a ton of pecorino romano of course. You could make the process easier and add the cheese directly into the avocado mixture. I did not because Josh has decided he likes parmesan better than pecorino romano so we have a wedge of both in the fridge to satisfy each of our tastes. Trust me though the pecorino is a much better flavor : ).
- fennel bulb
- lemon slices, quartered
- olive oil
- Slice the tops off the fennel bulb, half, and slice lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Layer in a pyrex dish edges slightly overlapping. Then place the lemon quarters throughout the fennel. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil.
- Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes or so until tender. Remove foil and continue to bake until lightly browned, another 10 minutes or so. (This is for 1 fennel bulb, it will take longer if you use more bulbs and they overlap more.)
- olive oil
- Slice parsnip into equal width pieces. Toss lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake in a 375° oven for 35 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
Avocado Pasta (enough sauce for 8oz of pasta)
- ripe avocado
- olive oil, ~3 tablespoons + more
- fresh basil, ~dozen leaves
- lemon juice, ~1-2 tablespoons
- Garlic Gold nuggets (optional or fresh garlic minced)
- quinoa spaghetti
- pecorino romano
- Cook pasta according to box.
- Using an immersion blender (or food processor) blend avocado, 3 tablespoons olive oil, basil, lemon juice, and salt. I didn’t not measure anything so my amounts are estimates. Start small and add more as you go.
- Once pasta is cooked and rinsed, heat up a bit more olive oil in a pan and add the pasta to heat through along with 1 teaspoon of Garlic Gold nuggets. If you are using fresh garlic, lightly cook the garlic in the olive oil before adding the pasta. Once pasta is heated through mix in the avocado mixture. Add fresh grated pecorino romano, as much as you like, which should be a lot.
* I served the pasta topped with the braised fennel and roasted parsnip. The lemon zing coming off the fennel really complimented the avocado sauce.