700 g baby carrots with green tops
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
225 g dried penne pasta
90 g roasted sunflower seeds
handful greens, washed, from carrot tops, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 large garlic clove, peeled
zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, more or less to taste
several grinds of black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste
Preheat oven to 220 °C. Cut the tops off the carrots (wash and reserve some green tops for dressing) and scrub or peel. Toss with oil, salt and pepper and spread out in one layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing around once, until charred in spots and a knife can easily pierce the carrots. Thicker carrots might need up to 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta: Bring a medium pot full of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 1 to 2 minutes shy of package suggestion, until it is tender but still has a bite to it. Drain and cool in large bowl until needed.
In a food processor, place sunflower seeds, carrot tops, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, salt, chilli flakes and black pepper in work bowl and pulse until chopped small, but not finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Season well.
Halve thinner carrots and quarter thicker carrots lengthwise, and then cut into 3-cm segments. Place into bowl with pasta. If pesto seems too thick, add a tablespoon of water (and up to 2) to loosen, and stir into pasta and carrots. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with more salt, pepper or pepper flakes, or lemon. Chop some extra carrot greens for garnish. Enjoy immediately, or later, but always with a glass of our 2018 Leopard’s Leap Chardonnay Pinot Noir!
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