This delicious pesto could not be easier, healthier, or more "sustainable" in that you're using something that all too often gets thrown away. It has a bright, herbaceous flavor and is just different enough to add a new twist to this classic condiment.
I was inspired by this carrot-top pesto recipe from Bon Appétit but I just eyeballed everything and skipped the cheese, though I will be adding cheese when I toss this pesto with pasta later in the week.
the green fronds from 6 carrots (washed and shaken dry) - about 4 cups or so
one large handful of basil leaves (also washed and shaken dry)
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/3 cup olive oil (add more, little by little, while scraping down the sides of your food processor to get a rough puree)
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or other nut (toast at 350 for 5-8 minutes)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes, optional
Pulse the garlic, nuts, and olive oil until relatively smooth. Pack in the greens and pulse until you get a rough puree, adding more olive oil, little by little, while scraping down the sides of your food processor to get a rough puree. Add the cheese, if using. Then salt and pepper to taste.
Use right away on pasta, rice, potatoes, atop crostini, with roasted veggies, as a dressing on fresh salads, or freeze for later use. Freezing in ice cube trays is smart and allows you to grab a bit of pesto, say to toss into a sauce for extra flavor, whenever you need to!
I tossed mine with carrots, radishes and cherry tomatoes and roasted at 425 for about 30 minutes until everything was blistered and delicious.
Pesto is a condiment that most people love but not enough make because it seems sort of complicated. I hope this post helps to demystify it. The basic pesto formula is basil, olive oil, garlic, pignoli nuts and Parmesan cheese pureed (with salt and pepper to taste, of course). If you aren't being a stickler, however, you can change up the nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil) and greens (arugula, carrot-tops, sorrel, watercress) and even swap the Parmesan for another hard-aged cheese (grana padano, aged gouda or manchego, hmmmmm!).
Even more willy-nilly than pesto, is it's cousin, chimichuri! Check out my recipe/guidelines for that here!