Avocado, olives and basil penne

Try this great light pasta dish for a quick and easy weekend lunch. The combination of avocado, olive and basil is delicious and you are assured of a heart-healthy meal.

250 g Dried penne

3 Avocados

3 Tablespoons extra virgin oil

4 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

3 Garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

½ Medium-hot red chilli, seeds and membranes discarded, finely chopped

100 g Stoned black olives, halved

Juice of 1 lemon

3 Heaped tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve A handful of torn basil leaves, or mint leaves

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil while you prepare the ingredients. Add pasta to the pan, and once it is fully submerged give it a stir . Quarter the avocados and remove the stone. Peel off the skin and slice each quarter across into chunks. Halfway into cooking the pasta, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and sweat for about three minutes, adding the garlic and chilli halfway through.

Leaving the pasta firm to the bite, drain it into a colander, without being too thorough about this. Return it to the saucepan, tip in the contents of the frying pan, add the avocado and black olives and toss. Pour over the lemon juice, scatter over the three tablespoons of Parmesan, season with salt an pepper and toss again. Finally toss in the basil or mint, pile onto four warm plates and serve straightaway with extra Parmesan at the table.

The benefits of avocado:

Avos are high in dietary fibre, a source of panthothenic acid, almost completely free of sodium, and are proudly heart smart (they carry the Heart Mark).  Avos may even aid in weight loss as they keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

This recipe has been adapted from South African Avocado Growers Association’s recipe book. (www.avocado.co.za)