Prep time: 30 minutes
Cavatappi is the Italian word for corkscrew, hence the name of this spiral-shaped, macaroni-like pasta. It’s ideal for use with a thick sauce, here paired with a zesty carrot pesto. This vegetarian recipe creates a tasty and satisfying summer one-dish meal, or can be served as a side dish. See notes below for easy vegan and gluten-free substitutions.
- 4 medium carrots, scrubbed (peeling not necessary) and thinly sliced
- extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces cavatappi (you may substitute another shape, such as fusilli)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 4 ounces baby arugula, washed
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Place the sliced carrots on a baking sheet and toss with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven until lightly browned and fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add pasta to the boiling water and stir. Reduce heat and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside, along with pot.
4. In a food processor, place roasted carrots, garlic, almonds, ½ cup of the arugula, 2 T. of the parmesan, 2 T. lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and the reserved pasta water. Pulse several times until combined.
5. With the food processor running on high speed, slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil and process until well combined to a fine chunky texture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Taste the pesto, and add salt as necessary.
6. Add the carrot pesto, cooked pasta, remaining 2 T. lemon juice, and remaining arugula to the large pot over low heat. Gently stir and cook until arugula is slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary.
7. Divide the pasta mixture among four bowls and sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Buon appetito!
– Cavatappi is eggless (as are many other pasta shapes including fusilli), therefore vegan. For gluten-free, I recommend substituting a chickpea pasta – I use Banza brand – which is higher in protein and lower in carbs.
– For the parmesan cheese, vegans can substitute vegan parmesan (I like Violife) or nutritional yeast, or a combination of the two.