12 May 2010

Spaghetti with Avocado Pesto

In preparation for the family visit this week-end, I went through some of my recipe collection for suitable food. I also spotted this that seemed quite good for a mid-week dinner.

Waitrose's Avocado Pesto Linguine from January 2007.


As has happened before, in case the recipe disappears from their web site, I'm posting it here too, with my alterations (the cheese had to go).


2 large minute steaks
4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
3 tbsp Cajun sauce
130 g spaghetti
1.5 large ripe avocados
2 cloves of garlic
1 red Thai chilli
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 handful fresh parsley
2 handfuls fresh basil
5 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful pine nuts
2 tbsp grapeseed oil

  1. Trim the minute steaks and cut into thin strips, about 1 cm wide. Then place in a bowl and pour the soy and Cajun sauces over the strips and stir well to get them coated. Cover and put in the fridge for about an hour.

  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet.

  3. In the mean time, cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and peel, then cut in chunks.

  4. Peel the garlic, deseed the chilli and cut both in smaller pieces.

  5. Put the avocado, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, parsley, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and blend until smooth. Or use a food processor.

  6. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan and set aside. In a separate pan, heat up the grapeseed oil, then add the strips of beef and stir fry for a few minutes.

  7. Drain the spaghetti, then stir in about two thirds of the avocado pesto and the pine nuts.

  8. Serve the spaghetti in a bowl with a few strips of beef on top.

I was a bit shy on the salt and completely omitted the pepper, so the avocado pesto was a bit on the bland side, once it was stirred in with the pasta. On its own it was lovely.

The recipe card recommended that the pesto be done last minute so it doesn't discolour, I agree, though I think giving it some time allows more flavours to develop. Maybe do it in advance and cover well with cling film, not allowing any air bubbles on the surface might be the way to go. Otherwise it's a very quick dish to do. The minute steaks were something I had in the freezer and wanted to use up. The butcher had hammered the life out of them when I bought them, so they were nice and thin and picked up the flavours rather nicely when cut into thin strips, this is a trick I learned from a Chinese friend of mine. The original recipe recommends bacon, but I think the beef was a healthier option.

As for the Cajun sauce, this is one I've picked up at one of the many garden centres I visit. It's called Very Hot Cajun Sauce and is yellowy-orange in colour, so tricks you into thinking it's not too hot, but actually it could be used as rocket fuel. Thus use a spoon when you stir the beef strips, or you might end up with serious burns on your hands.

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