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Carrot Top Pesto with Whole Grain Penne

Serves 6

You can eat this bright and nutritious pesto pasta hot, room temperature or cold for lunch the next day!


  • 2 cups leafy carrot tops (from one bunch) stems trimmed, soaked in cold water and drained well
  • 1/4 cup tarragon leaves, stemmed
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley tops
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • About 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds and pine nuts, combined
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • A couple of handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, about 1/2 cup, plus some to pass at table
  • About 5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound whole wheat or farro penne rigate


  1. Place the carrot tops, tarragon, parsley, garlic, nuts (reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish), lemon juice, salt, pepper and cheese in a food processor. Pulse chop into finely chopped mixture, then stream in the EVOO until the pesto begins to pull away from sides of the food processor. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Bring water to a rolling boil for the pasta; salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta.
  3. Drain the pasta. Add half of the starchy cooking water to the bowl with the pesto along with the pasta and toss. Adjust the seasoning and use additional hot water to thin as necessary to the coat pasta evenly. Top the pasta with the remaining nuts and pass the cheese at the table.
  4. You can eat this pasta hot, room temperature or cold for lunch the next day.