Bought some swanky carrots and want to get your moneys worth?? This recipe uses the ENTIRE carrot – not just the root!
If you’ve never cooked with carrot tops, you’re in for a treat. They’re actually super delicious. They have this lovely bitterness to them and almost a parsley-like freshness. I always pair them with some basil, to keep the traditional pesto dream alive, but you can also replace the basil in this recipe for parsley, if you want to try a different twist!
Makes two good bowls of pasta!
Braised Carrot Campanelle with Carrot Top Pesto
For the Pesto
- 8 carrots (with green tops attached)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 30 g fresh basil (chopped roughly, stalks included)
- 2 tbsp vegan Parmesan (I use Follow Your Heart)
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp maldon salt
- 8 good grinds of black pepper
- 7-8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- For the Campanelle
- 3 cups egg free Campanelle pasta
- 1 Tsp Table Salt
For the Carrots
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (crushed or sliced thinly)
- 4 carrots (quartered lengthways or cut into eighths if extra fat)
- Pinch ground coriander
- Pinch dried thyme
- Pinch paprika
- Pinch maldon sea salt
For the Pesto
- Fill a large saucepan with boiling water.
- Remove the tops from all of the carrots and reserve four of the carrots for later.
- Wash the carrot tops the boil for four minutes.
- Meanwhile fill a large bowl with cold water. Once four mins is up, remove from the pan from the heat and discard the water. Strain out the carrot tops and place in the cold water, to stop them cooking further.
- Once cool, chop the carrots tops roughly making sure there are no strands longer than around a cm.
- In a small dry frying pan over medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast for a few minutes until starting to brown.
- Into the bowl of a blender or a nutribullet, add all the pesto ingredients including the cooled, chopped carrot tops. Blend until quite smooth but slightly chunky. Set aside.
For the Pasta
- Half fill the same pan you used for the carrot tops with water and bring to the boil. Add the salt. Once boiling, add the pasta. Boil until al dente then remove from the pan, reserving the pasta water.
For the Carrots
- In the medium frying pan you used for the pine nuts, add the oil and place over a high heat. Add the garlic and brown it slightly.
- Add the sliced carrots and fry for around three minutes. Add the spices and stir to coat the carrots. The pan will become very dry.
- At this point, carefully add a ladle of pasta water and turn the heat down slightly. The carrots will sizzle and spit so be cautious. Allow the pasta water to bubble away, leaving the carrots looking almost glazed. Repeat this process until the Carrots are cooked (a fork should slide into the thickest piece of carrot easily, but don’t cook it to mush. For me it took 3 full ladles of water.
- Once cooked fully, add the salt and remove from the heat.
- Toss the pasta with around 2-4 tbsp of the pesto and top with a bunch of carrot slices. Serve with extra vegan parmesan.