On the Menu:
Spaghetti with Carrot Top Pesto, Fresh Carrots & Bread Crumbs
Chef Pesha set out today’s schedule with a goal of teaching us that we can use every little scrap that we would usually throw away on a daily basis. She started off class with sharing a little bit of her story and how she had to figure out how to cook on a budget, which meant that she had to use everything she could.
She advised us to always start off with the process that would take the longest, just to make sure that the entire cooking process would be as efficient as possible. Boiling the large pot of water would’ve taken the most time, so we started here first! QUICK TIP: Make sure to sprinkle in some salt into the water so it can boil faster and flavor our spaghetti noodles.
Chef Pesha had everyone taste the carrot tops to understand the flavors that it will provide in our pesto. QUICK TIP: Separate the leaves from the carrot/any root. When the greens are separated from the root, both parts last much longer. When the greens and the root are connected, it rots faster.
She had the class split up duties such as chopping the carrot tops as fine as we could and using a peeler to create rings or thin slices to add to the pasta (do just one or the other). There are other options for the carrots like using a spiralizer to create noodle like shapes or imitating julienne slices by chopping it into small pieces.
Chef Pesha then zested the lemon and squeezed the juices out. QUICK TIP: Roll the lemon on a firm surface to make it easier to squeeze all the juice out.
For any pesto, the cheese should be sharp. We used Parmesan cheese that we grated out into a bowl. Also, pesto usually has some sort of nuttiness, but we replaced the nuts with pumpkin seeds and Chef Pesha told us that we could use any sort of squash seeds. The main flavor of pesto is herbaceous, so any sort of herb will work as long as you personally like it! You can either use a food processor or manually mix in a bowl.
Finally, we could prep the bread! The bread was toasted to be dry, Chef Pesha taught us that we should wrap the bread with a towel and just smash it all up. QUICK TIP: When bread is about to be moldy, take it out of the bag that it comes in and let it dry out to make bread crumbs instead of leaving it and having to toss it out.
When all of the ingredients were prepped and ready to go, we started with sauteing the carrots with a little bit of pesto. Then we took the spaghetti noodles straight from the pot, don’t strain in a colander, and added the rest of the pesto in. QUICK TIP: When you finish cooking the pasta noodles in the sauce, it absorbs the flavor!
We got to finally plate the dish. Chef Pesha likes having a hot plate/bowl when serving hot food so she took the leftover pasta water and ran it over the dishes to make it hot. Then placing the spaghetti onto the place and topping it with the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Here’s the finally look below.
All in all, we had such a good time with Chef Pesha and she had so many great tips and tricks for cooking! We’ve listed the recipes below if you need it and if any of you try it out, please share it with us on Instagram @cooking_project or #thecookingproject.
1 or 2 slices of stale bread
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pinch salt
1 bunch carrots
1 box spaghetti
1 batch of Carrot Top Pesto
- Crush stale bread into crumbs and toss will garlic, olive oil and salt. Toast crumbs on stovetop or in oven for just a few minutes, until browned. Put to the side.
- Slice carrots as desired, either thin circles or long julienne. Put to the side.
- Bring a large pot of water up to boil and cook spaghetti per package instruction. Do NOT drain through colander.
- In a large pan heat 2 or 3 tbsp of pesto. Add carrots and saute until al dente.
- Add cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss. Add a little pasta water to thin it and cook for another minute to incorporate flavors.
- Add the remaining pesto and coat thoroughly.
- Serve hot and top with breadcrumbs.
Carrot Top Pesto Recipe:
1 bunch carrot tops
1/2 cup nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Food Processor Method:
- Place all ingredients except for olive oil in the bowl of the food processor.
- Close machine and turn it on.
- While it’s running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the spout until the pesto has come together.
- Taste and add more salt if needed
By Hand Method:
- Finely chop the carrot tops, nuts, and garlic.
- In a medium size bowl, mix everything together except the olive oil.
- Pour in olive oil and mix until it is combined.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.