Monday, August 24, 2009

Conchiglie with Avocado, Tomato and Prawns

I love this pasta dish. I made this many years ago for the whole family while my late-father was still alive. I could see that satisfying look on his face the moment he ate it. There are so many things you can add to the pasta but for this dish, the less ingredients, the better. Less is more. I think of avocado as a wonder ingredient as their creamy texture is enhanced by the heat of cooked pasta. You can stop right here and eat just that: pasta and avocados with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.

But I have some wonderful tomatoes which is always a good pair with avocados. These two ingredients are the base for the sauce. With the same ingredients you can make a simple and wonderful Basa with Avocado and Tomato Salsa by Joe Girard, CEO of Rouxbe Online Cooking School. It’s a great dish that can be made in minutes.

And of course, avocados would not be complete without prawns. I’m using shrimps here but when it comes to recipe title, prawns always get the attention. You can definitely use prawns if you like. Just cut them into smaller pieces. And I always remove them even before they are thoroughly cooked.

I’ve been looking for orecchiette all over the place and I couldn’t find it so I’m using some pasta shells instead. Even the brand that I like is not available. You can also use spaghetti for this too. Even if I don’t have any pasta at all, I’m sure it would go well with 100% buckwheat or brown rice noodles for a gluten-free meal. Just check your health food stores. They definitely have it.

Conchiglie with Avocado, Tomato and Prawns

Serves 4-6

1 lb shrimps

Avocado and Tomato Sauce
4 large ripe tomatoes
2 large avocados
½ lemon
3 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt for pasta water (1 tsp per 1 L of water)
500 g (1 lb) conchiglie, spaghetti or orecchiette

1 tbsp rice bran oil or extra light olive oil
unrefined sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To start the dish, first bring a pot of water to a boil (for the tomatoes) and prepare an ice bath. At the same time, bring another pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. While the water is boiling, peel and devein the shrimps. Set aside the shrimps while you prepare the sauce.

To prepare the sauce, remove the core from the tomatoes and make a small X on the bottom. Add the tomatoes and blanch them for 15-25 seconds until they began to split. Using a spider, remove them and plunge them into an ice bath to cool completely. Peel the tomatoes using a paring knife. Then, cut the tomatoes in quarters remove the seeds and cut into medium dice. Cut and dice the avocado and transfer everything to a bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over your hand to catchy any seeds. Next, remove the germ from the garlic and roughly chop. Add the salt and continue to chop until you reach a paste-like consistency. Transfer the garlic to the bowl. Tear the basil leaves onto the bowl then add the olive oil and with a large spoon, gently mix to combine. Cover and set aside while you cook the pasta.

When the water is already boiling, season the water with salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, you can cook the shrimps/prawns.

To sear the shrimps, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, season the shrimps with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the oil. Then, add the shrimps and cook for 1 minute per side (or even less) or until they are cooked. Transfer the shrimps to a plate.

To assemble the dish, drain the pasta and then add the pasta and the prawns to the sauce and fold everything together. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice to taste if necessary. Serve immediately.

If I have a continuous supply of avocados, I could eat this almost everyday. But there’s actually one pasta dish that I ate almost everyday for a month: it’s a down-to-earth and flavorful Spaghetti Aglio e Olio which will delight your palate even with the simplest ingredients.



  1. Divina, you are one of my favorite bloggers. Your presentation and instructions are thorough. Your photos are so crisp. I will definitely try this pasta dish. So healthy, simple, and easy to make.

  2. This is a healthy and simple dish to make. I love your thorough instructions and your crisp photos.

  3. @ Chris, thank you very much. That means more than a lot to me. I did get some guidance from Rouxbe Video Cooking School ( helped me how to write step by step recipes.

  4. delicious,nice photos...i like this post very much!congratulation!from romania,

  5. Beautiful pasta salad, very colorful and healthy. I love dishes with avocado.

  6. What a lovely pasta dish! very refreshing and light.

  7. This looks really delicious. I'm looking forward to trying this.

  8. @ Alison
    @ Short and Bald

    Thank you for loving the photos, considering there's so many more gorgeous pics at TasteSpotting and Foogawker.

    @ Anna, I love everything wit avocados too.

    @ Penny, this is one of my favorite pasta dish. Hope

  9. really pretty photos! the entire dish sounds so tasty and light I love it

  10. Oh my God! This looks heavenly Divina! Great recipe and great photos! Do you use a dSLR to take your photos?

  11. @ Kari, hope you like this pasta.

    @ Jessie, you're right it's a tasty and light dish.

    @ Kamran, haha. That made me laugh. Thank you very much. Yes it is but I borrowed it because someone borrowed mine. :)

  12. Wow. It looks amazing and yummy. Good recipe. Avocado is very healthy and has many health benefits. It is rich in nutrients and is excellent as conditioner and makes one’s locks lustrous and smooth, it helps to get rid of the frizz from hair, also helps preventing hair loss and its nutrients helps for good hair growth.

  13. wow...this is such a colourful dish. Really look awesome and romantic. It's a great dish for Valentine's Day. I really love the combination. One I will want to try. Thanks.

  14. hi divina :)

    I love your photos, so vivid..I wish I could take gorgeous pictures like you do. Can you take pictures of my food too, or can I borrow some of yours? LOL

    btw, I love spaghetti aglio e olio too :)

  15. @ Olive, hello. Thank you so much for your comments and for dropping by.

  16. This looks fabulous. I love the colors. And I can imagine how those flavors will combine. YUM!

  17. @ Kate - Thank you Kate. I miss eating this pasta. :) Unfortunately, no more avocados.


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