As a cook, I'm a passionate advocate for simple, seasonal and, in general, traditional. I particularly love classic pasta recipes, the ones that have evolved with each shape in the regions they were born. But lately, I've been having fun thinking outside the box, and working with flavor profiles that aren't classically Italian. Today's dish is a case in point. It combines influences from all over the world all to great, flavorful effect. You can use Hass avocados, of course, but if you're in a place like Souther California and have access to other varieties, like the Nimlioh from JJs Lone Daughter Ranch, you'll take this to another level!
Rigatoni with Shrimp, Avocado and Miso-Lemon Dressing
Serves 4. Marinate shrimp 30 minutes in advance.
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2-1 habañero pepper
3 garlic cloves
For the dressing:
3 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 lemons, juiced
2 tbsp honey
For the salad:
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Place olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and habañero in a blender and blend quickly until emulsified. Pour over peeled and deveined shrimp to marinade. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Thinly slice the shallots and fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Remove shrimp from the marinade and cook on a hot grill or sauté pan about 1 minute on each side, until shrimp turns pink and slightly curls. Remove and set aside.
Cook pasta in boiling, heavily salted water. Drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together miso paste, olive oil, water, juice of 2 lemons and honey until smooth and emulsified. Pour over cooked pasta. Mix in chopped cilantro and stir until coated.
Once ready to serve, top the pasta with shrimp, avocado and fried shallots. Drizzle with more lemon juice and a pinch of good finishing salt like Jacobsen, to taste.