Roasted Carrots and Carrot Top Pesto

cuisine Irish
difficulty Moderate
season Fall & Winter
serves 8

Ingredients

2 bunches small organic carrots with tops 1/3 cup olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1 garlic clove 3 tablespoons3 tablespoons pine nuts 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano 1 teaspoon1 teaspoon sumac 1 marigold flowers, petals plucked, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Trim the tops from the carrots, leaving some stem and the tail attached. Wash and peel carrots (do not peel if organic). Slice the carrots in half lengthwise.
  3. Measure out 2 cups carrot tops, mostly leaves and few stems (compost the remaining carrot tops or feed to backyard chickens).
  4. On a HALF SHEET BAKING TRAY, toss carrots with 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots, tossing occasionally until they are golden brown, tender in the center when pierced, and beginning to caramelize. Let cool.
  5. Place the garlic and nuts in the bowl of a food processor and whir until a coarse paste forms. Add the basil, reserved carrot tops, cheese and sumac. Process into a coarse purée.
  6. Slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube while pulsing until just combined. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Place the carrots on a platter and put the pesto on top of the carrots, and sprinkle the marigold petals over the plate for beautiful presentation.

Kitchen Notes

A variety of colored carrots makes this a glorious addition to fall feasting. Farmer's markets often have a variety of orange, red, purple and yellow carrots--nab them when you see them. They taste the same, but look spectacular. This dish may be made hours in advance. Chill the pesto with plastic wrap pressed onto its surface. Carrots may remain at room temperature.