Carrot Tops & Parsley Pesto Pasta, is the fourth in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.
The fresh carrot tops in my vegetable basket, inspired me to create a playful twist on the classic pesto made with basil. Another twist is that I mixed in cabbage with the pasta. The addition of the cabbage ups the nutritional value and lowers the carbohydrate content. It also tastes great.
- 1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 1 small bunch of carrot tops
- 1 small head of green cabbage
- 1 small red onion
- 3 cloves of garlic–1 clove for the pesto and 2 cloves for the pasta base
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan
- 3 small sweet bell peppers
- 3 twigs of thyme
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of white wine (use the same wine that you will have with the pasta. This way the wine and pasta will pair perfectly.)
- 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil for the pesto. A little bit extra to coat the pan for the pasta base.
- 2 cups of dried gemelli pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- Separate the parsley and carrot top leaves from their stems–set aside for the pesto
- Toast the pine nuts–set aside a handful for garnish. The rest will be used in the pesto.
- Chop the head of cabbage into strips that are about the same size as the pasta
- Chop the red onion, peppers and garlic
- Separate the thyme leaves from their woody stems
MAKING THE PESTO:
- Add the parsley, carrot tops, 1 clove of garlic, and extra virgin olive oil to a small food processor
- Blend till smooth
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts
- Blend till smooth
- Taste the pesto. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
COOKING THE PASTA BASE:
- Coat a heavy duty stainless steel pan with extra virgin olive oil and place it on medium heat
- Add the red onion, peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, thyme and oregano
- Saute till lightly brown.
- Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by moving the sauteed vegetables aside
- Add the tomato sauce, let it cook down for 2 minutes
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine
- Add the cabbage and saute till it is ‘al dente’ (firm to the bite)
- While you are cooking the cabbage base, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. The pasta should also be cooked ‘al dente’.
- Add the pasta to the cabbage and toss.
Since the cabbage is about the same size and shape as the pasta it doesn’t even get noticed. Next add the pesto to the pasta and toss.
Plate the pasta onto a beautiful platter and garnish with toasted pine nuts and extra grated Parmesan.
Serve with a glass of the same wine that was used during cooking. You will be surprised at how good the cabbage in the pasta tastes. It adds an unexpected twist of flavor and texture.
I hope you like this dish. Next Saturday, I will be posting the fifth in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.
I am having a lot of fun creating these recipes. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Bye for now 🖐