Monday, August 16, 2004
PASTA WITH BUTTERED CARROTS AND HERBS
Use the best carrots you can find for this recipe. I like to get the multicolored ones from the farmers' market. This photo shows orange, white, and golden carrots, but I've also used red and purple ones.
Jack Bishop's Pasta e Verdura yet again. Seriously, this book is a treaure trove. This is a recipe I would never have come up with on my own, and I was pretty skeptical (yet intrigued) the first time I tried it. I don't even especially like cooked carrots; when I was young they were always (as my little cousin used to put it) "my worst vegetable." I'll tolerate them now, but I didn't think I would like a recipe that contained very little else. Still, what isn't good with butter, garlic, and herbs? And these tastes (especially the more bitter herbs) play off the sweetness of the carrots really well. After one too many tomatoey or creamy pastas, this unique recipe is a welcome change of pace. With really fresh, sweet, tender farmer's market carrots, it can be divine. Plus, vitamins!
8 medium carrots (about 1 pound)
salt to taste, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup tightly packed mixed fresh herb leaves (such as oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives, basil, mint, or tarragon--use several for maximum interest)
6 tablespoons butter
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fusilli or other short, curly pasta
1. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta, and several quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan for cooking the carrots.
2. While the water is heating, wash the carrots, trim off the ends, and peel the carrots if you like (Jack asks you to, but I never do--it's a pain and the skin is good for you, plus I had nice, small, smooth carrots from the farmer's market anyway). Then chop the carrots into 1/4-inch dice and add them to the water in the smaller pot when it boils, along with some salt. Cook until the carrots are tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes (maybe slightly longer, but keep an eye on it). Drain the carrots and set them aside.
3. When the pasta water boils, put in the pasta and cook until al dente.
4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the garlic to the pan and saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook them a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until they're coated with the butter and heated through. Then stir in the chopped herbs and 1 teaspoon salt.
5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, making sure some water still clings to the noodles. Toss the pasta with the carrot sauce and serve.
Time: 30-40 minutes