It may sound boring, but this rich and flavorful sauce is anything but. In fact, if given a choice, I just might choose it over tomato-based sauce, if such a choice were to present itself. That’s how good it is. (B. agrees with me, so this isn’t a completely biased opinion.) I needed to use up an old bag of carrots in the crisper, so I fashioned this dish based on the filling for roasted carrot ravioli, with butter, sautéed shallots, Parmesan, and a little bit of nutmeg. I had originally intended to top the pasta with toasted pecans, but it turned out I didn’t have any. If you have some, I highly recommend it, as a subtle crunch would’ve put it over the top. Some coarse toasted bread crumbs would’ve been a welcome addition as well. Surprise yourself!
As below it makes about 4 servings.
• 1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks: 35 cents
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping, if desired: $1.50
• 1 lb. rotelle or other pasta: $1.19
• 1 medium-to-large shallot, minced: 40 cents
• Large pinch of nutmeg: 3 cents
• 2 T cream: 8 cents
• 4 T butter: 24 cents
• 1 T olive oil: 6 cents
• Salt and pepper: 2 cents
• Optional toasted pecans or bread crumbs, for crunch
TOTAL: $3.87/4 = 97 cents/serving
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Toss the carrot pieces in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in a baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add contents of skillet to a food processor (or blender) with the carrots, nutmeg, and cream. Process until smooth.
Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water. Return drained pasta to the pot and add the carrot sauce. Add starchy cooking water as needed to loosen consistency. Serve with optional extra cheese, pecans, or toasted bread crumbs.