Sunday, May 25, 2008

Avocados Give Pasta Dishes A Delightfully Unexpected Twist

NAPSI -Here's food for thought: California-grown avocados are widely acknowledged to be exceptionally creamy and delicious, but it is less well known that they offer more than delectable flavor. One-fifth of a medium avocado (about 1 oz.) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 beneficial nutrients to the diet. California avocados are currently in season at peak availability, so now is a perfect time to incorporate this remarkable fruit into your diet.

Renowned chefs and restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, known together as the "Too Hot Tamales," are so passionate about California avocados that they have teamed up with the California Avocado Commission to create signature recipes inspired by the luscious fruit. "Avocados are big in Latin cooking but their adaptability and rich, nutty flavor takes them beyond just the Latin kitchen," said chef Milliken. "They are the perfect complement to dozens of hot and cold dishes, including soups, sandwiches and salads, and even pastas."

Milliken and Feniger's original recipe for Tequila-Spiked Fettuccine with Shrimp and California Avocado combines avocados with pasta for a delightfully unexpected pairing, which highlights the fruit's versatility.

Tequila-Spiked Fettuccine with Shrimp and

California Avocado

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


4 large, ripe tomatoes, cored

1/2 lb. fettuccine

Salt, for pasta water

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pasta

1 lb. medium domestic shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 cup silver tequila

2 ripe, fresh California avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice

1 bunch basil, cut into thin strips

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Puree the whole tomatoes in a blender until smooth, adding a small amount of water, if necessary. Reserve.

2. Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and salt to the pot. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté the shrimp for 1 minute on each side. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Remove skillet from heat and add the diced tomatoes and tequila. Return skillet to heat and continue to sauté for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (Be careful as pan might flame.)

5. Stir in half the diced avocado and half the basil. Transfer shrimp mixture to a platter using a slotted spoon, leaving liquid in the skillet.

6. Add the reserved tomato puree to the skillet, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by about one-third. Add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Then, add the remaining diced avocado and basil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Toss finished sauce with cooked pasta until thoroughly combined.

7. To serve, divide pasta mixture onto individual entrée plates or into shallow pasta bowls. Top with shrimp mixture and serve immediately.

Per serving: 513 calories; 26 grams fat (6 grams saturated, 14 mono, 3 poly); 181 mg cholesterol; 976 mg sodium; 48.5 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams fiber; 28 grams protein.

For other recipes that feature fresh California avocados, visit

The creamy flavor of avocados adds a twist to a traditional pasta dish.

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