Think casual entertaining, and you think “grill.” This dish, from the New Southwestern bistro Third Coast Rotisserie and Grill in Houston, propels tradition up a notch.

The shrimp and scallop skewers, a creation of executive chef Gary Tottis, take one of Texas’ great natural resources—seafood—and give it a distinctive Mexican accent—the avocado sauce. Grilling brings out the sweetness of the shellfish, while Third Coast’s signature pasta primavera, Tottis’ collaboration with sous-chef Russell Knott, makes a light and savory vegetable accompaniment. The dish is healthy yet substantial enough to satisfy your hungriest guest.

Pasta Primavera

1/4 cup julienne red bell pepper
1/2 cup quartered Roma tomatoes
1/3 cup each broccoli florets, 2-inch asparagus and green bean pieces, and julienne zucchini
1/3 cup fresh-cut corn
1/3 cup julienne carrots
1/3 cup quartered marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup quartered mushrooms
3 tablespoons fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 cups precooked angel-hair pasta
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast peppers and tomatoes in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Set aside. Blanch broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and zucchini 1 minute.

Place corn and carrots in bowl with blanched vegetables, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and basil; toss with olive oil.

In heavy skillet sauté garlic and vegetable mixture. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add pasta, peppers, tomatoes, and pepper flakes. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Serves 4.

Shrimp and Scallop Skewers

16 jumbo shrimp
16 large sea scallops
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Devein and butterfly shrimp, leaving head and tail on. Wrap each shrimp around a scallop, 4 pairs to a skewer. Coat with oil, season, and grill 8 to 10 minutes.

Avocado Sauce

2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 whole lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne
3 avocados, peeled, seeded, chopped
5–6 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish

Place first 7 ingredients in large pot and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Chop lemon. Put all ingredients including avocado in blender, purée, and strain through sieve. Keep warm.

To serve, pour some sauce on each plate and place a shrimp and scallop skewer on top. Garnish with cilantro.