Linguine with Shrimp, Avocado, and Pancetta
Twenty six years ago, I volunteered with Junior League here in Denver to work on their second cookbook, Creme de Colorado. I was assigned to the pasta section, and each week, along with a half dozen other women, we’d make a bunch of pasta dishes and taste test them for the book. I happened to be pregnant with my first child, and quickly learned that my opinion was discarded frequently, as my taste was just a bit “off”. But one dish did sit well with me from day one – a creamy shrimp and avocado pasta.Back then, I would have been terrified to attempt the dish without following the recipe, but as my skills and confidence grew in the kitchen, I’ve nearly abandoned recipes altogether. In this case, I knew I wanted to add pancetta, since I still have so much of it from curing my own this past year. So I simply pan fried some small-diced pancetta until crispy, drained off most of the fat, then quickly seared the shrimp. After throwing in the diced avocado and a splash of heavy cream……I added in the nearly cooked pasta. One thing that really helps a pasta dish to come together is to cook the pasta for the last minute in the sauce.If you’re looking for something just a little more decadent, this pasta dish can be made in just 10 minutes and tastes delicious! (PS If you want a vegetarian version, skip the pancetta and cook the shrimp in a bit of extra virgin olive oil instead)
- 8 ounces linguine
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 24 medium large shrimp (21-25 per pound size)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for topping
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add linguine; add linguine, stir, and allow to cook.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the pancetta; cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and the fat has rendered out. Drain most of the fat, then add shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, just until barely cooked through.
- When pasta is just barely al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Combine cooked pasta with the shrimp and pancetta, and add avocado and heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and cook just until heated through, thinning with the reserved pasta water as needed.To serve, top with grated cheese.
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