First there was Kimye, and then there was Bennifer, and now there’s Pestocado—the latest celebrity couple that everyone should be talking about.
Now, please humor me as I give them the celebrity couple write-up that they deserve.
What exactly makes this “it couple” work so well together? It’s not just that millennial ingenue avocado has been swept up in the retro glamor of pesto, or the fact that their combination is so heart-healthy that it has our pulses racing.
It’s the simple romantic notion that they really do belong together.
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Yes, some might say that these two only work because, like so many celeb couples, they’re both so damn rich. But look closer and you’ll understand that it’s about far more than just their cashmere mouthfeel and exclusive macronutrient content.
It’s about how each lets the other shine, their flavors complementing one another to bring the best out in both of them. It’s about how, when combined with a simple pasta and a handful of blanched broccoli, their creamy qualities meld to create something that is more delicious than simply the sum of their parts.
More MediterraneanA highly anticipated follow-up to our best seller The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, this book lifts the lid on what ingredients fit into a Mediterranean diet (incorporating foods such as salmon and avocado) and includes 225 brand-new plant-forward recipes.
A perfect reflection of just how good they are for one another is pesto’s rumored reliance on olive oil—requiring just a little too much, sources close to the condiment say, to get through dinner. Now, with avocado on the scene, this saucy couple requires only a quarter of the added oil, delivering on taste, texture, and calorie content.
For those skeptics among you who think this pairing is nothing more than a fleeting PR stunt, recipe developer and ATK test cook Joe Gitter explained exactly what makes them so perfect together.
“I was thinking, why do we put only pesto on pasta rather than salsa verde? I think the key difference is texture—a pesto should be thick and cohesive so that it will thoroughly coat your pasta,” he said.
“For an herb pesto, this thickness comes from a load of oil, nuts, and cheese. In order to cut down on these sometimes overly heavy ingredients, I turned to avocado, which, when whipped, becomes both cohesive and rich.”
If you need any more convincing that this star-crossed couple is in it for the long haul, you can get a peek at the real thing in our cookbook, More Mediterranean, where they give a five-star performance in Pasta with Avocado Pesto and Broccoli.
Pasta with Avocado Pesto and Broccoli
- ½ teaspoon table salt, plus salt for cooking broccoli and pasta
- 12 ounces broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
- 1 pound spaghettini or spaghetti
- 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
- 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add florets and cook until stalks and florets are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to colander set over bowl (do not discard boiling water). Let broccoli drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels; set aside.
2. Add pasta to reserved boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
3. Process 1 cup broccoli, ½ cup pasta cooking water, avocado, basil, ¼ cup pistachios, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
4. Add pesto to pasta in pot and toss until sauce evenly coats pasta, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed. Stir in remaining broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup pistachios and drizzle with extra oil. Serve.