Avocado Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, and Fromage Blanc

You may think that pasta with summer squash doesn’t sound very seasonal. But somehow in the Bay Area, it is! My garden is still growing tomatoes and squash, even if not at a very fast rate.

I was craving this bright pasta, not only because it’s delicious, but I love that the colors are aligned with the holidays. It’s basically a present to anyone’s tummy because, for one thing, the avocado sauce is phenomenal.

If you have time to make this 30-minute pasta during this crazy holiday week, I highly recommend it! If summer squash isn’t available, you can use zucchini.

Pro Tip: Feel free to substitute queso fresco or greek yogurt for fromag blanc.

Avocado Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, and Fromage Blanc

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 lb small summer squash or zuchinni, quartered vertically, sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
4 tsp garlic, roughly chopped, divided
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup basil or epazote leaves, packed
4 garlic cloves, whole
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 avocado, cut into chunks
1 cup fromage blanc
4 green onions, light and dark green parts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
24 oz fresh pappardelle pasta
Pecorino cheese, for grating

To Garnish
Basil leaves, roughly chopped
Red pepper flakes
Grated pecorino cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add tomatoes, squash, thyme, and 3 tsp garlic to a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Roast vegetables for 25 minutes, turning halfway through, and continue cooking until the tomatoes have burst and the squash is tender.

In a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, basil leaves, garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes over very low heat (below a simmer) for about 20 minutes, until the garlic is golden. Allow basil oil to cool.

Add avocado, fromage blanc, 2 tbsp olive oil, green onions, 1 tsp chopped garlic, lemon juice, ½ lemon zest, and ½ tsp kosher salt to a food processor. Pulse until the sauce is smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pappardelle and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to the pot.

To the pasta, gently stir in the avocado sauce, basil oil, and roasted vegetables. Add ¼ cup reserved pasta water at a time if necessary to thin the sauce.

Add pasta to plates and garnish with chopped basil leaves, red pepper flakes, and pecorino cheese.


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Hearts of Palm Pasta with Sausage Ragu

I've often thought that a convincing low-carb pasta was almost impossible. In theory, I thought that maybe a food scientist would someday concoct something made from wonky processed food ingredients that could be believable. But pasta made out of real food that is low-carb? No way.

Palmini pasta was kind enough to send me a couple cans of their hearts of palm pasta. At only 90 calories, 18g of carbs, and 12g of fiber per can, I was skeptical. How could it be so healthy, but taste so similar to pasta?

I figured I could at least give one can of Palmini a whirl with a basic sausage ragu. To say I was impressed with the result would be an understatement.

When I opened my first can, I started snacking on the pasta right away. Luckily I didn't eat too much, so I didn't have to open up a second can to complete the recipe! I can't wait to cook up my next can soon!

Whether or not you're cooking with Palmini, this ragu is amazing and will be great with regular pasta too. Or if one person at your dinner table is living a low-carb or keto lifestyle, but you need your wheat noodles, why not make pasta two ways? Yep, now everyone's palates can be pleased!

Hearts of Palm Pasta with Sausage Ragu

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 bratwurst sausages (about 1 lb), casings removed
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 medium carrot, grated
2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if desired)
1/4 cup Ruby port wine
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 can Palmini pasta, rinsed and drained
2/3 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add bratwurst and fennel seeds and cook until the sausage starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add grated carrot and cook until sausage is completely cooked through, about 5 more minutes. 

Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the skillet and stir in garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in port and bring to a boil and cook until the wine almost evaporates, about 1-2 minutes. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, until the flavors combine. Discard bay leaves.

Add Palmini pasta to the ragu and stir in parmesan and parsley until combined, about 3 minutes. Serve on plates and garnish with additional parsley and parmesan if desired.


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I’m Anne, Your Diet Assassinista!

Hello! Welcome to my nutrition blog where my core philosophy is that diet is a four-letter word! My name is Anne Assassi and I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and health coach from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve officially launched my private practice in the last week and am looking forward to engaging with clients in-person, over the phone, and through video chat. Here you will find my musings on nutrition, health, and fitness. I intend to debunk as many diet myths as I can while guiding my readers to choose foods that are healthful and balanced. Feel free to ask me questions, share my posts, and to provide feedback. But above all, enjoy! I am here to motivate, inspire, and educate so let’s get this blog thing going, okay?

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