A bag of rainbow carrots, one remaining jar of last summer’s pesto in the freezer, and a container of just-made yogurt cheese. All the ingredients for cooking something new: Carrot Ribbon Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce. Get ready to be completely amazed. Carrot ribbon pasta actually resembles fettuccine in both appearance and texture. I mean, could you tell from the header photo that you were looking at carrots? You can even twirl them with a fork. Plus, nutrient-rich carrots are considered a superfood.
- Hold on to the thin end of the carrot as a handle.
- Starting at the thin end (just below your fingers), use a sharp Y-shaped peeler to peel long ribbons of carrot pasta.
- Stop making carrot ribbons when you get to the tougher central core.
- Save these unusual looking, yet tasty stubs for snacking, grating or for stock.
Although gorgeously colored rainbow carrots inspired this carrot ribbon pasta dish, there’s a caveat. In order to maintain their individual colors, each color of carrot ribbons requires separate cooking. So I learned after having to return all of the ribbons to the pan to cook them longer. (see below) Each of the ribbons turned the same beautiful color of orange.
I doubt many of you would want to take the extra time to separately cook the carrot ribbons. It would only add on an additional 35-40 minutes. 😉 I now use only one color of carrots. And the dish is completed and on the table in 35 minutes. I’ll save the rainbow-colored carrots for those special occasions calling for a dramatic presentation.
Have you ever, but of course you have, everyone has followed an inaccurate recipe from time to time. Such was my first attempt at Carrot Ribbon Pasta. So frustrating, I put the way off-base recipe aside until I could rethink and completely revise the technique, ingredients and directions.
With an entirely new plan of action, this morning’s and this afternoon’s Carrot Ribbon Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce were a most welcome and delicious success. Frustration resolved. I’m excited now to finish this post and share the recipe with you.
Do let me know what you think of Carrot Ribbon Pasta with its rich and flavorful creamy pesto sauce.
Gluten-free carrots peeled with a peeler become the pasta ribbons. Yogurt cheese (or soft goat cheese) combined with homemade pesto and some of the reduced cooking broth creates the creamy, rich and flavorful sauce.
For your convenience, I’ve included the recipes for yogurt cheese and pesto below the Carrot Ribbon Pasta recipe.
Start to Finish: 35 minutes (using already prepared yogurt cheese and pesto)
1 ½ pounds large carrots, peeled if not organic
1 ½ cups mild, low-sodium vegetable broth
Salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ cup yogurt cheese or soft goat cheese, at room temperature
½ cup Pesto Genovese, at room temperature
- Remove the stem ends from the carrots. Holding on to the thin end of each carrot, use a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to peel each carrot into long pasta-like ribbons. Stop when you get to the tougher core. Save the trim for snacking or for stock.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a 12-inch sauté pan. Add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper.
- Add the carrot ribbon pasta. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Toss the carrot ribbon pasta gently after 5 minutes. Begin checking for tenderness at 8 minutes.
- While the carrots are cooking, combine the yogurt cheese and pesto in a small bowl.
- Transfer the tender carrot ribbon pasta to a strainer over a bowl. Cover the pasta with foil to keep it warm.
- Raise the heat to high. Reduce the broth to 1/3 cup. Turn off the heat.
- Gradually stir the hot broth into the pesto mixture.
- Return the carrot ribbon pasta to the pan. Gently toss it with the creamy pesto sauce.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve garnished with a dollop of pesto.
- Line a strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth. Place the strainer over a glass or ceramic bowl or measuring cup.
- Transfer the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.
- Gather together and tie up the ends of the cheesecloth.
- Let the yogurt drain for 4-8 hours sitting on a kitchen counter. You want a consistency similar to cream cheese—thick yet spreadable.
Pesto keeps well for months in the freezer if you top it with a thin layer of olive oil before closing the jar and freezing it.
Yield 2 cups
2 large cloves garlic (3-4 medium)
1 cup walnuts
5 cups medium-packed basil
2 cups medium-packed parsley
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Dozen twists freshly ground pepper
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup parmesan or pecorino cheese
- While your food processor is running, drop in the cloves of garlic until finely minced.
- Stop the machine. Add the walnuts, and half of the basil and parsley. Pulse a few times to make more space in the processor. Add the remaining basil and parsley, salt and pepper and half of the olive oil. Process till coarsely chopped.
- With the processor running, pour in the remaining olive oil. Add the cheese and mix just until combined.