This is the easiest thing in the world to make, and now’s basically the season for it. It is also hell of healthy, on account of the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and avocados. If you want to be cool and impress your friends, pronounce “avocados” ah-VOK-a-doss. This is an incorrect pronunciation, which displays your daring and lack of respect for convention and also The Man.
This recipe is stolen from Alison Holst. Can you believe that shit. Learning it was the only good thing that came out of flatting with these psycho hippies in Wellington who kicked me out after a few days when they learned I owned a laptop and a cellphone. I’ve cooked it too many times to count. It’s not even cooking. It’s just a summer sauce over pasta. But it makes you look like you can cook to the untrained eye. I have highlighted places where you can fuck up even this simple recipe in the instructions below.
You will need:
- A bowl
- A more smaller bowl
- A pot big enough for pasta
- A colander
- A big fuck-off knife with cutting board
- Some large spiral pasta – in theory you could use any kind, but the large spirals trap sweet juices in their delicious embrace.
- A good avocado – not too soft, not too firm. Basically, you want it to come off the stone really easily, but you don’t want it to turn to mush when you’re mixing shit up. Use two avocados if you’re cool enough to pronounce it incorrectly.
- Four big ripe tomatoes.
- Half a red onion.
- Some capers.
- A few cloves of garlic, crushed (or a teaspoon or so to taste if you’ve got pre-crushed stuff).
- Like, maybe one chilli? Crushed. Or about half a teaspoon of pre-crushed stuff. Don’t overdo it – you want a hint of zing, not a breach of the Geneva Conventions in your mouth.
- A teaspoon of dried oregano or a bit more fresh.
- Some basil – fresh is best, but not essential.
- A lime (or squeezable lime juice that lasts FOREVER in the fridge).
- Some sugar.
- Some salt.
- Extra-virgin olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar.
It’s so simple. Fill up the pot and start the water boiling. Throw some iodised salt in there. Always throw iodised salt in pasta to make it taste a bit nicer, and to provide you with a bit of iodine, which you don’t really get anywhere in a New Zealand diet. Don’t waste nice-feeling salt on water or almost anywhere in cooking, because fancy names don’t change its chemical make-up, just how pretty it looks.
That water will take a while. Also, if you’re worried about pasta sticking together, don’t put oil in – that just floats on the top. You can put a bit of milk or a squeeze of the lime juice in. Any kind of acid will break up the stickiness of pasta, but be wary of how it might flavour it. A bit of milk’s safest. A little vinegar would work too.
Anyway, meanwhile, you’re peeling the avocado and chopping it into bits. Do the same to the tomatoes, taking care to remove the stems. Experiment with bit sizes. I like big bits, and I cannot lie, but smaller bits makes it more sauce-like. Chop up the red-onion half into even finer bits. You’re putting all of this in a bowl. Put the garlic in the bowl too, and about a tablespoon of roughly chopped capers.
That took almost no time. The water’s still not boiled.
Get the basil. If it’s fresh, roughly cut up a bunch of it and put it in with the tomatoes and everything. If it’s dry, do like a teaspoon or so, sprinkled over everything. Mix it up a bit so some of the basil is making sex to the tomatoes.
Water’s still not boiled. Crazy. Start to wonder why you didn’t boil it in the kettle first, and then gasp at the realisation of how much power kettles must use in the short time they’re on.
Now, in the more smaller bowl, mix: two tablespoons of the olive oil, two tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, the oregano, a teaspoon of sugar, a squeeze of lime juice, half a teaspoon of salt (to taste, really, your call) and half a teaspoon of chilli. Mix it all up good and proper. Maybe put a bit more of the olive oil and balsamic in, but keep the amounts about equal.
The water’s boiled! Awesome. Put in the pasta. Don’t put too much in, and also don’t put too little in. I suggest putting in just the right amount of pasta, but that’s just me.
Pour that dressing stuff over the tomatoes and such, and mix it all up again. When you’re mixing it up, do it slowly, with a big solid spoon, and scoop it from the bottom of the bowl and turn it over. Don’t smoosh stuff. You want definition, though you’re going to lose some because you just poured noxious-looking brown slime over everything.
Leave that to sit while the pasta’s boiling. Take the pasta out when it’s just right – al dente. Which means “to the tooth”, so fuck knows why there’s a bottle store on Customs Street called “Al Dente Wines”. Get all the water out with the colander, because any remaining water is going to dilute your good work. Put the pasta back in the big pot once the last little bits of water have evaporated from the bottom of the pot.
Mix all that shit up together in the aforementioned method.
Open your bottle of wine and drink and eat.