Last spring I was in the South, the Deep South. South with a capital “S” – Jackson, Mississippi.
Why I went and how I got there – all a long story – but there I was sitting in a backyardy-feeling bar, talking to a tattooed iron worker, waiting to play corn hole, sweating my H&M-dressed ass off.
My best friend swirled around me like a flower from Fantasia. Bubbly, happy, pretty.
“We need to talk to at least two cute guys before we can go home.”
I’ve always loved how she says everything as a statement, not to be questioned or debated. Of course, two cute guys.
We clomped around the bar’s patio in higher than high heels searching for our targets.
“What about him?” I asked. “He seems alright.”
“No way! He is NOT cute!” she protested.
“Yeah – I guess he has a bit too much face, you know?”
Maybe we were being superficial, even mean, but we had every right to be choosy. We’d both been heartbroken, my friend more recently, me… well …. what had it been? Two years? Anyway, our conversation-only rebounds needed to be knockouts.
After a few hours of successful sloshed socializing and a bunch of “Oh stop!” “You’re too kind!” -ing, it was mission accomplished. Tired and tipsy, we were desperate to leave, desperate for food. Flirting is serious work! We needed something substantial enough to soak up the booze but that was still healthy – we were on the market folks – we needed to keep it tight.
Pasta was the choice fo sho, but what to top it with? Oddly, Vodka sauce (bleeeehh) didn’t seem appealing nor did Parmesan at 3:30am.
My friend suggested mashed avocado. Okay.
Maybe it was the alcohol or the high of successfully talking to two cute guys without mentioning Harry Potter or cats (damnit, there I go again) but that Late Night Avocado Pasta was the tastiest thing.
Healthy, hearty, conscious of the waistline, decadent enough to start soaking up that impending hangover, the perfect reward to share with a best friend after a few too many and an evening of calculated flirting.
And heck, you don’t have to be six sheets to the wind to enjoy it. It’s creamy and filling but light enough for a simple weeknight dinner! For a little extra somethin’ – I add a fried egg. Aren’t avocados and eggs a match made in Mississippi heaven?
As we sat in her living room, PJ clad, cheeks filled to the brim with pasta, I couldn’t help but appreciate my companion, my dearest friend. Confident, beautiful, kind, smart and happy to have a little weirdness (i.e. me) in her life. She will always be my favorite person to split a plate of pasta with.
So this one’s for her!
Make the pasta dough (or use store-bought noodles) but seriously, make the pasta dough. Mix flours and salt together in a large bowl. Create a well in the center.
Add the eggs one at a time, breaking up each egg with a fork before adding the next egg.
Once all the eggs have been added to the well and broken up, add the oil.
Using a fork, start to work the flour into the wet center in large circular motions. At some point it will start to come together into a shaggy mess. I switched to my hands to bring the dough together.
Mix the dough until a ball type thing forms. Dump out onto a floured surface.
Knead the dough with your hands until it goes from shaggy mess to a smooth, firm but elastic ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and set aside to rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Roll the dough out thin (1/8 an inch) and cut into thin strips, you know, like noodles.
Once all the pasta is cut, gather into bunches and flour the bunches so they don’t stick. Set aside to “dry” for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce and bring a pot of water to a boil.
Place the garlic, avocado, basil, salt, and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor. Turn the processor on and puree until smooth.
With the motor running, add the olive oil and puree until emulsified. Then admire that smooth SAUCE! Set aside while you cook the pasta.
Cook the noodles in the boiling salted water. Add the noodles 2 handful size bunches at a time (don’t overcrowd!!) and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. (Cooking time will depend on how you cut your noodles.)
Oh yeah, fry an egg or two.
To assemble, place cooked pasta in a large bowl and toss with as much or as little avocado sauce as you’d like.
Plate pasta and top with fried egg.
After a night of boozed-up flirting with southern men Avocado Pasta is the BEST reward. Carbs, jammies, 3am, your best friend – it’s basically heaven.
Late Night Avocado Pasta
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of basil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
Eggs for frying (optional)
Make the pasta dough by placing the flours and salt in a large bowl and mixing together.
Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and crack one egg into the center of the well. Break up the egg using a fork. Repeat with remaining three eggs, adding one, breaking it up, adding the next.
Add the oil and mix with the eggs.
Using a fork, start to slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs using big circular stirring motions. Continue mixing until a shaggy mess forms.
Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the shaggy mess becomes a smooth, elastic but also firm ball. It took me about 3 – 5 minutes of kneading. Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Once the dough has rested, roll out very thin (1/8 of an inch) and cut into thin noodles. Group the noodles in handful-size bunches and dust them with flour so they don’t stick. While they rest, make the sauce.
Add the avocados, lemon juice, basil, garlic, salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and puree until emulsified. Taste for seasoning, if you want to add more salt or pepper or lemon, do it now and blend until combined. Set the sauce aside.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water. Add about 2 handful-sized bunches of noodles to the water at a time and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the noodles are tender and cooked through.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and toss with as much or as little sauce as you’d like and it’s ready to serve!
My preferred topping is a fried egg. I just melt a little butter in a sauté pan, add my egg, salt and pepper and cook sunny side up or over easy. There’s something magical about runny yolk and avocado….
But top it with anything you like, grilled chicken, fresh veggies, shrimp! The options are limitless!