Francine Segan calls the avocado sauce in this dish from her new cookbook, Pasta Modern, a healthy alternative to dairy-based cream sauces, but it hardly tastes like bland diet food. The buttery fruit gets a quick buzz in a blender with plenty of lemon juice, turning velvety thick. It melts into the hot, white wine-scented pasta, adding a flavorful coating to the red onion, and shrimp. A dusting of lemon zest enlivens the dish, making the spaghetti impossible to put down.
Why I picked this recipe: Who can say no to avocado cream sauce?
What worked: This dish is a wonder—every element has a purpose, and each sings brightly throughout every bite.
What didn't: Again, Segan doesn't say to save pasta cooking water, but a little bit is helpful here to bring the dish together.
Suggested tweaks: You could simplify the dish further by cutting out the shrimp if you'd like. Or, change the protein entirely to a bit of bacon or small pieces of chicken.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.