|Carrot greens-basil pesto in pasta salad loaded |
with roasted summer vegetables.
Some sources disagree about their merits, even warning that may be toxic. I had a kind blogger from distant shores caution me when I posted my intentions, then playfully implore that I "keep tweeting" so she would know I'm all right.
|You want a handful of fresh |
carrot greens, not Carrot Top.
Carrot tops lend an earthy, slightly bitter note to the mix, which I balanced with a scant teaspoon of sugar. Rinse the greens well to remove grit; use just the tender leaves and discard the tough stalk.
This batch made enough to generously dress a pasta salad loaded with roasted vegetables (noted below), with about a cup's worth left over. I see bruschetta in my near future and will save try to a few spoonfuls to toss with roasted potatoes.
Note: I inadvertently bought pecorino romano instead of parmesan, which I normally choose for pesto, making added salt unnecessary. If you use parmesan, you might need to add a pinch.
Carrot Greens-Basil Pesto
1 large handful carrot greens without stems
Same amount fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup pecorino romano, freshly grated
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup olive oil
a few grinds of black pepper
1/2-1 tsp. sugar, if needed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, if needed
Toast walnuts in small skilled until fragrant; transfer to cutting board. When cool, chop coarsely.
Place carrot greens, basil and garlic in food processor work bowl. Pulse until coarsely blended then add about 1/2 cup olive oil in a slow stream while continuously chopping. Add grated cheese, walnuts, lemon zest and juice, and black pepper; set to on and drizzle in remaining oil. Taste for balance. If needed, add sugar and/or salt; pulse to combine.
You'll need about 1/2 cup pesto for the pasta salad below. Transfer excess to small jar and press plastic wrap to pesto surface; store in refrigerator for up to two days.
Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Any colorful combination of fresh summer vegetables will work, but this is what I used:
1 head purple cauliflower, cut into florets
8 purple summer onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices
kernels from two ears of corn
1 medium red bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice
2-3 medium carrots, 1/2-inch dice
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2-1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup carrot greens-basil pesto
1 14-ounce box whole grain, multicolor penne
reserved pasta water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Arrange cauliflower, carrots, onions and bell peppers on shallow roasting pan coated with spray oil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast about 20 minutes. Add corn and a little olive oil, if needed. Stir well and return to oven for 10 minutes.
If cauliflower is tender and browned, pluck pieces out and transfer to cutting board. Cook for about 10 minutes more or until vegetables are well caramelized but not dried out.
Coarsely chop cauliflower and transfer to large mixing bowl. Add panful of roasted vegetables and sprinkle lightly with salt, if needed. Place grape tomatoes on emptied pan and drizzle with oil. Roast about about 15 minutes or until they pop and look succulently juicy.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water for a boil. Cook pasta about 8-9 minutes, or as directed on package. Reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining; set pasta water aside.
Add drained pasta to bowl of roasted vegetables along with about a half-cup of pesto and a few tablespoons of pasta water. Stir well to combine. Add most of the roasted tomatoes, reserving a few pretty ones for garnish. Stir well, adding additional pesto and/or pasta water as needed. Scatter reserved tomatoes on top.
Serve right way or at room temperature.