Carrot top pesto w/ roasted garlic
Carrot top pesto is in these days — even the New York Times is on top of it. Every time I buy carrots at the farmer’s market, I mean to bite the bullet and take that enormous bunch of greens home. Yesterday was the big day. Although I love cannellini, they are here mostly to thicken sauce and add some protein — the flavor is all about pesto. And nice knobby carrots.
2 cups dry short tube pasta (I like any whole-wheat type made in Italy, or Lidia’s brand)
8-10 farmer’s market carrots, assorted colors, with greens
1.5 cups cooked cannellini, with liquid
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 lemon, juiced
salt + pepper
hot pepper flakes
parmesan or pecorino
Preheat oven to 350. Set pot of salted water to boil.
Trim greens from carrots and set aside. Scrub carrots well — trim tip and top (where carrot meets greens) but do not peel. Dry carrots well, and lay on baking sheet lined with foil — scatter whole garlic cloves. Drizzle olive oil over carrots and garlic, and sprinkle w/ salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes — you want creamy garlic with no hint of burning. Remove sheet from oven and set aside, but leave oven on at about 200.
When vegetables are cool, peel garlic and set aside — discard peel. Slice carrots into thin coins, lay on sheet and return to oven at 200.
Scrub and dry carrot tops well. Trim and set aside leaves — discard stems. Pulse carrot tops in a food processor with garlic, 1T olive oil and about half the lemon juice. Add beans with about .5 cups cooking liquid. Pulse until fairly smooth and add salt, pepper and hot pepper to taste. It’s okay if sauce is a little thick and strong — you will thin with cooking water.
Cook pasta and set aside, saving cooking water. Scrape pesto into a sauce pan, mixing with about 1 cup pasta water. Add pasta and warm, stirring to coat.
Remove carrots from oven. Serve pasta in soup bowls. Top with carrots, a dash of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan or pecorino.