Shrimp and Avocado Pasta

Seafood and Avocado Pasta

For me, cravings often manifest themselves as an emotional reaction to something I see, rather than from a recollection of something I’ve actually eaten. I was out grocery shopping the other day and as I walked through the mall connecting the grocery store to the train station, I noticed a big glossy poster outside a chain restaurant promoting a new dish. It showed a crown of giant plump shrimp, atop a mound of spaghetti tossed in a verdant green pesto.

I’m sure the actual dish was far less impressive, but the poster did its job and snagged my attention. In fact I found myself craving those juicy coral prawns and emerald strands of pasta hours after arriving home. My lazier side briefly contemplated returning to the cafe for dinner, but past experience has taught me to be weary of the lust-inducing talents of food photographers.

As luck would have it, I’d picked up some shrimp that day, along with some lump crabmeat. I also had an avocado that was at its prime, and since avocado and crab make for a delicious combo in sushi, I figured they should mingle nicely in pasta as well. What I didn’t have, was basil to make the pesto. But who says pesto has to be made with basil? It’s not like “pesto” is the Italian word for basil, and I had an abundance of other green herbs such as cilantro, flat-leaf parsley and chervil sitting in my vegetable drawer withering away.

Seafood and Avocado Pasta

Actually, to be totally honest, the chervil was a bit of an afterthought. It was an aging prop i’d picked up for a photo shoot, that had outlived its usefulness as a garnish. Ironically, it was the chervil that made the dish. I’d never really thought of chervil as much more than a cute decoration; with its strong anise notes, it has the kind of flavor that could easily become overwhelming. But used sparingly, it helped tie the other herbs together and made for the perfect counterpoint to the rich avocado and savory seafood.

I make a lot of quick pastas to get me through the week. Most of them are pretty good, and some are even good enough to get posted here, but given that my job is to come up with new recipes, it’s rare for me to make a dish more than the handful of times it takes to test it. This one is one of the few exceptions I see myself revisiting.

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Shrimp and Avocado Pasta
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Votes: 14
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Savory shrimp and crab, creamy avocado, and the bright green flavors of chervil, cilantro and parsley make for a balanced combination of flavors and textures in this easy pasta dish.
Shrimp and Avocado Pasta
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 14
Rating: 4
You:
Rate this recipe!
Savory shrimp and crab, creamy avocado, and the bright green flavors of chervil, cilantro and parsley make for a balanced combination of flavors and textures in this easy pasta dish.
Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
8minutes
Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
8minutes
Ingredients
  • 225 grams dried spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 grams flat leaf parsley
  • 10 grams cilantro
  • 4 grams chervil
  • 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
  • 30 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 160 grams shrimp shelled and deveined
  • 100 grams crabmeat
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 lemon
Units:
Instructions
  1. Bring two large pots of water to a boil and add enough salt to make the water taste like the sea. In one of the pots, boil the the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Add the olive oil, parsley, cilantro, chervil, garlic, parmesan and salt to a small food processor and process until smooth.
  3. In the other pot, boil the shrimp until just cooked. The exterior will turn pink when cooked, and the flesh will go from translucent to opaque. The time will depend on the size of your shrimp, but mine took about 1 minute. Drain and cover them with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
  4. Quarter the avocado, and then remove the pit. If your avocado is ripe, the quarters should peel easily by hand. Slice each quarter into 1/8" thick pieces and drizzle with the juice of 1/4 lemon to keep them from turning brown.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to a bowl along with the shrimp, crab, avocado and pesto. Toss with tongs to coat everything evenly, then serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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  • Coco a.k.a. Opera Girl

    Ooh, this looks delicious! I love that you took your inspiration from sushi and put avocado in pasta. Avocados find their way into, well, nearly everything I cook (or don’t cook, including yesterday’s mango/banana/avocado smoothie), and here’s yet another great application.

  • Nolwenn Petitbois

    Can I ask a very stupid question ?
    Why don’t you take the shrimp’s tail off ? (told you, stupid question… but in France we don’t leave them when we cook, and here in North America they are always on.. so it makes me wonder why)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hahaha, not a stupid question at all, in fact it’s a good observation. To be honest I’ve never giving this much thought, I guess the shrimp presents a little better with its tail on. For finger foods, it makes a lot of sense since you can use the tail to hold onto, but for plated dishes like this they’re a bit of a nuisance. It’s just how it’s always done in the US (and Japan) and I never though to question it.

  • KD

    Seriously & I happen to have all the ingredients at hand. Time to get a lottery ticket. This will be in my personal “cookbook” as the “Matsumoto Shrimp & Avocodao Pasta” recipe. Along with so many others that you’ve turned me on to! Had Matsumoto steak last night again, with mushrooms & potatoes. So good.

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  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    So original, brilliant and gorgeous!

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  • http://damndelicious.net/ Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Gorgeous dish! I’m sure I could eat this every day of the week!

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  • Isabel

    Can I use store bought pesto?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Isabel, you’re free to use any sauce you like, so I’m not really sure what you’re asking?

      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • http://omnivorescookbook.com/ Maggie Zhu

    What a lovely combination! I like avocado and shrimp in salad, but never thought I can put them in pasta too. Great idea. :)

  • jj

    go easy on the olive oil…that was my mistake. If you don’t like the strong taste of it use less than 1/3 cup!!!!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi jj, I used a fairly mild buttery olive oil for this, if yours was more green and spicy, I could see how it might get in the way. Next time, try using something a little more mellow.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!