Creamy Carrot Pasta

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

I've never been a huge fan of cooked carrots. Their mushy sweetness compared to the savory crunch of raw carrots always put me off. I tend to like my veggies on the salty side, garnished with some ranch dip or a nice vinaigrette (or, in the case of artichokes, with luscious melted butter.) For most of my life I have picked carrots out of chicken soup and pot roast. I would always try one but I was usually haunted by flashbacks of pre-school lunches at La Petite Academy where I was coerced with threats of no dessert to eat this nastiness:
I just threw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it. It's gross.

So yeah, I don't like cooked carrots. That's why it was weird when I stumbled upon a cooked-carrot pasta sauce recipe on Tastespotting and it sounded good to me. Really good. I couldn't get it out of my head, I felt compelled to make it.  I did. And I loved it. The thyme and parmesan bring out the nuttiness in the carrots and the sweetness is mellowed by the cream. The bacon adds a much needed smokiness and saltiness that make this dish addictive. The leftovers were even good cold!

If you suffer from cooked carrot PTSD, this recipe might be the cure!
(Adapted from this recipe on

- 1 lb Carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-1 inch rounds
- 5 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea or Kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- 6 strips of Niman Ranch bacon
- 1 pound of gluten free pasta (If you haven't tried Ancient Harvest Corn/Quinoa blend DO IT.)

This sauce works best on curly shapes. I used a mixture of Garden Pagoda shape and Veggie Curls.
- 1 1/2 cups of pasta water
First, cook the bacon. This is my go-to method for making a lot of bacon at once. it cooks evenly, is absurdly easy to clean up and leaves your kitchen free of grease splatters. Also, you don't have to hover over it the way you do when making bacon in a skillet.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Line a cookie sheet  with foil and place a cooling rack on the sheet. Spread bacon out on cooking rack and bake for 20 minutes or until very crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to cool then chop into small pieces and reserve for later.
Increase heat in oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl toss the carrot rounds and garlic with the olive oil, thoroughly coating the carrots and garlic with oil.
Season well with salt and thyme (and pepper if you're into that nasty stuff.)
Roast on a foil-lined about 45-50 minutes until carrots are tender. Take the pan out and stir or toss halfway through the cooking time to ensure carrots cook evenly on both sides.

When carrots are soft and tender, remove from oven.
Cook the pasta in a generous amount of salted water to al dente according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, puree the carrots and garlic with the heavy cream and parmesan cheese in a blender or food processor . When the pasta is done cooking reserve a cup and a half of the pasta water.
Quickly drain pasta and toss into a large mixing bowl with carrot cream sauce, adding pasta water a little at a time until you get a nice consistency and the pasta is evenly coated. Toss in the bacon and stir until it's incorporated.
Serve with a generous grating of parmesan cheese.


Karly June 6, 2010 at 8:46:00 AM PDT  

I love steamed carrots. So sweet and tasty! ;) But, even though I'm not suffering from carrot PTSD, I think I'd love this pasta! Sounds amazing.

Hazel June 6, 2010 at 2:58:00 PM PDT  

This sounds absolutely wonderful! My husband can't stand cooked carrots either, he's in the same boat as you there, so I'm hoping this is a hit with him as well :) Can't wait to try it!

adrian.larose June 6, 2010 at 6:58:00 PM PDT  

We just made this for a small dinner party! And was it ever good :-) Used some pre-smoked bacon ("speck") in place of the raw/baked bacon, but other than that to the letter...we will make again though I imagine we may try to replace the cream with alts (maybe sour cream, or more water/milk) in future. Thanks for sharing! Innovative :-)

Callie @ The Picky Gourmet June 6, 2010 at 7:25:00 PM PDT  

Karly - Have you ever had to eat Veg-All? That is the stuff that will make you hate cooked carrots! Lucky you don't have to overcome that!

Hazel - Let me know if your husband likes it!

Octovus - I love speck! I'll bet that was delicious. Maybe you could try using some greek yogurt or just a bit of water or vegetable stock for a thinner, healthier sauce.

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