Friday, January 25, 2013

pasta with creamy roasted carrot sauce

This pasta feels like a seasonal variation on the (much beloved, and often aseasonal) Fettuccine with Peas and Parmesan. It's extremely comforting, in the way that most pastas—particularly monochromatic pastas—are, but complex as well: fragrant with roasted garlic, onions, and thyme; creamy and sharp from the crème fraîche and parmesan; and occasionally surprising with the crunch of toasted hazelnuts.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Creamy Roasted Carrot Sauce
Adapted from Traveler's Lunchbox

Serves: 4

1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 6 large), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 cups hot, strong vegetable or chicken broth
3-4 tablespoons crème fraîche [you could substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt]
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 pound whole wheat penne, farfalle or other chunky pasta, cooked according to package directions
Freshly-grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, for garnish
Chopped toasted hazelnuts, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and oil together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then spread the mixture out on a foil-covered baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until the carrots are tender and flecked with brown, about 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times and removing the garlic early if it starts to over-brown.

Peel the garlic cloves and puree with the rest of the vegetables in a food processor or blender, adding as much broth as necessary to make a thick, creamy sauce. Blend in the crème fraîche to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss with hot cooked pasta and top with a sprinkling of cheese and toasted nuts.

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