A good friend of mine recently described a meal she had in Italy that involved pasta and some type of carrot sauce. Since I’m always on the lookout for an interesting vegetarian dish, I was intrigued and eager to either find a similar recipe or invent one of my own. I pecked around online and found a few recipes that seemed to roughly approximate the dish, so I took some of their basic elements and then came up with my own concoction. I loved the end result, and the best part is, there are lots of ways you could change it up to suit your own tastes.
- 10 to 12 medium carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into roughly 3/4″ pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
- Additional sea salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
- 1/8 cup of grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Put the carrots, onion, garlic, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, thyme, and crushed red pepper (if desired—I like it because it gives the sauce a little kick to counter the potential blandness of the carrots) in a baking dish and stir to combine. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the carrots are fork-soft and begin to turn golden.
- Put the carrot mixture in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds at a time, scraping down the sides every once in a while, until a purée begins to develop.
- Once the carrot mixture has fully combined, leave the food processor on and slowly add in the vegetable broth. You can add more or less broth depending on your desired texture.
- Once the broth has been incorporated, add in the heavy cream and process until fully blended and smooth. As with the broth, you can add more or less cream depending on your preferences.
- Check the seasonings and add more salt, pepper, and/or crushed red pepper as necessary.
- Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for five to ten minutes to let the flavors combine (while you finish cooking your pasta and any side dishes).
- Serve on top of fettuccine or your favorite pasta with a sprinkling of parsley and Parmesan.
- Full disclosure: I have no idea if this dish is remotely authentically Italian. But it was tasty.
- Add more vegetable broth and cream if you want it to be saucier. I liked it on the thicker side because it sticks to the pasta well.
- To make this a carnivore-/omnivore-friendly dish, I would recommend thinning the sauce a bit as mentioned above and serving the pasta with some grilled chicken (I think vegetarians like myself would enjoy a thicker version of the sauce as I’ve detailed in the recipe because there’s no meat to take center stage).