Creamy Spinach and Avocado Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Remember that time we started a half bath renovation toward the end of our kitchen renovation? Fun times. Needless to say, dinners around here have been on the quick and easy side. Our work starts as soon as Clara is asleep, so that means we try to make dinners that require little prep and little cleanup so that we can clean the kitchen and get to work on whatever project we’re hoping to finish that night. Honestly, there have been nights where we totally ignore the dishes and get straight to renovating.
Having simple dinners on our menu plan means that we aren’t tempted to get takeout, though it still happens on occasion. We had Chipotle a few nights ago, when we were scurrying to finish the bathroom before the weekend ended (it didn’t happen, but we’re almost there). With a better idea of what we needed to do this week, I was able to plan our menu around the projects we have going on.
This pasta fits the quick and easy bill, but it’s also something I would eat even if we weren’t in the middle of trying to renovate our entire downstairs before Clara’s birthday party in three weeks. Even though pasta is one of my favorite foods, a lot of the recipes I love are filled with heavy ingredients. That’s fine sometimes; everyone needs comfort food now and then, but it’s not something I want us to be eating on a regular basis. This pasta, though, is filled with avocado, Greek yogurt and lots of spinach. Topped with roasted tomatoes, it makes a healthy and delicious dinner, just the thing we need to fuel our late-night renovation projects.
- YIELD: 6-8 servings
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
1 pound fettuccine or other pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
10-12 ounces baby spinach, washed
¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 avocado, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
I prefer my pasta to be lightly sauced, so I doubled the amount of pasta in this recipe. If you like yours more heavily sauced, you can use 8 ounces of pasta. Alternately, you can make the full recipe of sauce and only 8 ounces of pasta and freeze half the sauce to have later. If you halve the amount of pasta, you only need 1 pint of tomatoes.
Heat oven to 375º. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and sugar, then toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.
As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking another minute, until fragrant. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at at time. Once all the spinach has been added, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.
Stir in the yogurt, avocado and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Alternately, you can transfer the spinach mixture to a blender or food processor and puree it that way. Use additional pasta water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.
Stir in the basil and parmesan, then add salt and pepper to taste. Add the noodles to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve each portion of noodles with a handful of roasted tomatoes and extra Parmesan cheese.