Sweet Spring Vegetable Linguine with Carrot-Top Pesto
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Sweet Spring Vegetable Linguine with Carrot-Top Pesto

This is a fresh take on pasta primavera—hold the cream. These days most fruits and vegetables are “seasonless,” for better or worse. But tender young carrots and sweet green peas (see the pilaf with peas on the opposite page) make me think of spring.


Vegetables and Pasta

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • 1 small bunch thin carrots with leafy tops, thinly sliced on an angle (reserve 2 cups of the tops for the pesto)

  • 1 small bulb fennel, quartered and very thinly sliced (reserve about 1/3 cup of the fronds for the pesto)

  • 2 leeks—halved lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced on an angle

  • 1 clove garlic, grated or chopped

  • Salt and white pepper or finely ground black pepper

  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

  • 1 lb. linguine or farro linguine


  • 2 cups (packed) carrot tops, cleaned and dried

  • A handful (about 1/3 cup) each of fennel fronds, fresh basil, and fresh mint

  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (a couple of small handfuls)

  • About 1/2 cup good, fruity EVOO

  • About 1/4 cup toasted shelled pistachios (I like Sicilian pistachios)

  • 1 lemon or lime, zested and juiced

  • About 3 tbsp. pepitas

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • Salt


  • Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

  • Step 2

    Heat a large deep skillet over medium to medium-high. Add the butter. When it foams, add the sliced carrots and fennel, the leeks, and garlic; season with salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Keep at a rolling simmer over medium heat.

  • Step 3

    Salt the boiling water. Add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions.

  • Step 4

    In a food processor, pulse the pesto ingredients until combined; season with salt.

  • Step 5

    Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta, cooking water, and pesto to the vegetables. Toss until the pasta and vegetables are coated with pesto.

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