I saw a recipe for a stovetop avocado macaroni and cheese on the Two Peas and their Pod blog late one night. It looked so good I pinned it to Pinterest so that I’d remember to make it soon. To my surprise, I woke up to the daily email from Pinterest with the repin stats and over 40 people had already repinned the recipe! That might be a new personal best!
A few months ago I pinned an overnight crockpot breakfast casserole and that took off like gangbusters as well. Within a week or so 150+ people had repinned the recipe. I was so amazed I collected the ingredients and made it one weekend when I stayed with my sister, Linda, and her family. We really liked it, and I felt comfortable that all of the people who repinned it would probably also enjoy their breakfast, if they tried it.
This new pin of avocado mac n cheese again gave me a sense of responsibility to see the recipe through and make sure it was worthy of being spread so quickly. I’m not trying to insult the Peas; I’ve loved many of their recipes in the past. I guess I was more eager to see if we were all looking forward to something that was equal to the buzz.
I stopped at the grocery on my way to the office and picked up two avocados. They were still pretty firm and I was disappointed that it would be a couple of days before I was going to be able to use them in the dish. I set them aside in a paper bag when I got home and let them ripen for two more days. I was glad I’d picked up cilantro for another recipe, as I’d forgotten this one also called for cilantro.
I’d already decided I wanted to make the dish with the cavatappi I found on a trip a few weeks ago. We have boring pasta at every grocery store in town here, so I’m always looking for new shapes when I’m traveling. Weird shopper, huh? New pasta squiggles please me. I’m a noodle nut.
Into a pot of boiling, salted water went 10 ounces of cavatappi. I set the timer and went to work on my avocado puree. I peeled and pitted the avocados and put them into my food processor along with the garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. I pulsed them until they were creamy. I had to scrape them down and pulse it quite a few times before they were smooth.
Next I heated a medium sized skillet and melted the butter. I stirred in the flour with a silicone scraper and cooked it until it was bubbling, about 2 minutes. I stirred in the milk and when it was smooth and thickened I added the cheese.
I used Monterey jack cheese but I think white cheddar would also be good. When the cheese was melted I poured the pasta into the skillet and stirred well.
When I drained the pasta, I’d reserved a couple cups of hot pasta water and added about a cup of it to the skillet and stirred well. That’s my usual trick I learned from the chefs on The Chew, to allow the past to absorb a little more water to finish the blending of sauce and pasta.
I poured the avocado sauce over the pasta in the skillet and stirred that together as well. I tasted tested and added a little more salt and black pepper, then served the pasta.
Wow, it was creamy and delicious! Avocado, cheese and pasta.. is excellent! Maybe everyone that repinned this recipe had an idea of what a wonderful, satisfying meal this makes. I had wondered how the flavors would translate. I had guessed it would taste like pasta falling into my guacamole, and I was correct. It all worked together in an amazingly good way. Repin away, Pinterest searchers! This stuff is worth it! I think everyone will like the surprisingly light feel of this pasta dish.
The Peas did note that the avocado darkened the dish when leftover the next day, but it was still edible and tasty. We had two servings left over and it only darkened minimally. It was perfectly good the next day.
Stovetop Avocado Mac and Cheese
10 ounces dry macaroni (elbows or any similar size)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro; chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese (could also use white cheddar or pepper jack)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta in salted, boiling water as directed on box. Cook until al dente; drain and set aside in a large bowl.
While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
To make the cheese sauce, place butter in a medium skillet and heat over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes to remove the rawness from the flour. Whisk in milk until smooth and thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted.
Add pasta to skillet and stir well to coat. Add more pasta water if necessary to keep it moist. (I added about a cup more)
Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Taste test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if desired. Serve hot.
Make 4 servings, May darken slightly the second day but the flavor is unaffected.