When I tell people that I don’t eat pasta, I often get the “What DO you eat?” look. When someone actually asks the question, I gladly indulge in the opportunity to have a conversation about food.
It’s not that I dislike the taste. It’s okay. The actual pasta just doesn’t really do anything for me except leave behind the heavy, sleepy, nap-time feeling. Considering that it has very little nutritional value (or negative value, depending on who you ask), it’s just not worth it for me. I do, however, love Italian flavours and sauces and it was time to start experimenting with other ways to feed myself delicious pasta sauce. For the past couple of years, I’ve been topping roasted eggplants, shaved zucchini and carrots, squash, and sauteed mushrooms (not all at once) with sauces of all sorts. The veggies have so much more flavour than pasta and when paired with an appropriate sauce, actually add a lot to the dish. They don’t taste like substitutes.
Today’s special is a shaved carrot “pasta” with a kale-parsley pesto and balsamic currant sauce. It’s garnished with toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley, and shaved parmesan.
Pesto is a great place to make use of any left-over kale stems. Although they don’t add a lot of flavour, they’re super nutritious and shouldn’t be wasted. If you don’t have any around, feel free to use more parsley or another combination.
- 2 cups combined kale stems and parsley (with stems)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Combine kale, parsley, nuts, parmesan, and garlic a food processor and pulse several times to finely chop.
- Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt to taste.
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. dried currants
- 4 medium carrots, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. kale-parsley pesto
- a few good pinches of salt, to taste
- pine nuts, toasted
- shaved parmesan
- parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Combine dried currants and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to soak.
- Fill a large pot with water and place on high heat.
- While it heats, shave the carrots with a vegetable peeler. Set aside and prepare the garnishes.
- In a small sauce pan, on low-medium heat, gently start warming the olive oil. Stir in the pesto.
- Add the currents, balsamic vinegar, and salt and continue stirring on low-medium heat until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling. T
- aste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside.
- When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the carrots and cook for about 45 seconds. They should be slightly softened but not breaking apart. Drain the water.
- Toss carrots with the balsamic pesto sauce.
- Divide between plates and garnish with the pine nuts, parmesan, and parsley.