Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pesto From Carrot Tops Is…Well…Tops!

This time of year my craving for greens is practically insatiable. I'm coming home from the market with bunches of raab (or rapini or rabe) from multiple different vegetables—turnips, kale, mustard greens—and foraging through the aisles for nettles, fiddleheads…well, you get the picture. And since these days I only buy carrots with their tops still attached because I had one too many woody, flavorless carrots from the cheap-for-a-reason bulk bin, I've been giving their frilly green appendages the same lustful looks as their cousins the brassicas.

Using those tops is also a great way to keep perfectly good food out of the compost bin, so the other evening when I was casting about, as I usually do, for what-can-I-feed-my-family ideas by digging through the vegetable bin, I came across a few stalks of parsley along with the carrot tops, and decided to throw them into the blender with walnuts, a little salt and a couple of cloves of garlic. Stirring in a pile of shredded romano, the pesto got tossed with pasta and laid on top of a bed of arugula, then "garnished" with slices of a couple of seared pork loin chops I'd found in the freezer.

One-dish dinner, and it looked (and tasted) like a restaurant meal. I could get used to not wasting food!

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot tops from one bunch of carrots, frilly greens stripped from stems
1/2 c. parsley leaves, stripped from stems
1/8 c. walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/3-1/2 c. olive oil
1 c. romano cheese
Salt to taste

Place carrot top leaves, parsley leaves, walnuts and garlic in a blender. While blender is running, drizzle in olive oil until it becomes a smooth sauce. Pour into medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in cheese. Add salt to taste.

Toss with one pound cooked pasta. This pesto sauce is also delicious drizzled on roasted or grilled spring vegetables.

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