I write this while swaying languidly on a porch swing in Houston, huddled up with my lap top and enjoying the green that surrounds me. Yes, I'm in Houston, and it just so happens that I'm here during an unusual time for this city: when being outside is not just tolerable, but enjoyable. That even happens here? I guess the answer to that is: April.
And although I am states away, this pasta dish that I made last week still lingers in my mind. Seriously, I've been thinking about it, that's how good it is. We have been eating & drinking our way to and from Texas, and I'll I can think about is making this again ... oops. I guess by this point it's pretty obvious that I'm on an immersion blender kick. Maybe in my next post I will stop talking about how great they are ... but before that happens, here is the most cost effective pesto & most delicious quick dinner recipe ever.
Carrot Top Pesto
A few tips: if you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, slowly add a little oil. Instead of swirling the blender in the mixture, press it down firmly from top to bottom as you blend. The one thing you can't compromise on with this recipe is parmesan cheese; get the real stuff. And finally, this pesto is meant for the following pasta dish, so dial back the garlic if using for milder purposes.
2c carrot leaves
(removed from stems, washed & dried)
1⁄2c olive oil
(toasted & chopped)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch of pepper
1⁄2c grated parmesan cheese
- Roast walnuts on stovetop in a clean, dry skillet over medium heat until slightly brown and fragrant, stirring very frequently. Let cool and chop coarsely.
- While walnuts are roasting, remove leaves from carrot tops, rinse of dirt, and dry. A salad spinner makes this task quick and easy.
- Combine leaves, oil, roasted walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a storage container. Pulse with immersion blender, pressing blender down into the ingredients as you pulse.
- When mixture is combined well, add parmesan and pulse until mixture comes together. If not coming together, add oil.
One Pot Pesto Pasta
This method of cooking pasta is my go to. I rarely cook pasta any other way. Simmering pasta in your other ingredients instead of just plain old water brings so much more flavor to the dish.
1lb ribbed pasta of choice
1lb italian sausage
2c chicken broth
1c heavy cream
1 recipe carrot top pesto
Salt & Pepper
- Brown sausage in large saucepan over medium heat. I use my 5qt Le Creuset.
- When sausage is done, add pasta and cover with liquid. Depending on the size of your pot, the amount of liquid needed may vary. The liquid shouldn't completely immerse the pasta, but should come about 3/4 of the way to the top of your pasta.
- Bring to boil stirring frequently, so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid has reduced by about 80% and pasta is al dente. Stir in salt & pepper to taste.
- Remove pot from heat let rest for 2 minutes. Stir in pesto. Serve with more parm on the side.