Recipe Review

This Delicious Pasta Sauce Hack Uses One Special Secret Ingredient

published Apr 19, 2023
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Spicy carrot pasta on a plate.
Credit: Apple Mandy

Carrots are incredibly versatile. This humble vegetable can be blended into soups, added to salads, roasted as a side dish, or baked into desserts. They’re super affordable and are enjoyable no matter how you cook them. 

One such smart way to use carrots is to add them to pasta. No, I’m not talking about tossing chopped carrots in with your favorite pasta, but rather steaming and then blending them into a creamy sauce.

Carrots are probably not the first ingredient that immediately comes to mind when making a pasta sauce, but this TikTok video from @cafehailee piqued my interest. I prepared my chopping board, high-powered blender, mixing bowl, and nonstick pan and got to cooking. 

How to Use Carrots for a Pasta Sauce

Carrots are obviously the main star of this recipe. Following the instructions, I peeled and steamed the carrots and garlic for 15 minutes until they were easily pierced with a knife or fork. Once soft, I transferred them in a blender and added Pecorino cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and three Calabrian chilis for a mild kick. 

Achieving a smooth consistency to the pasta sauce is important, so the secret is to blend, blend, and blend. The texture turned out to be a little thick, so when I added the cooked rigatoni I needed a few tablespoons of pasta water to thin the sauce out. 

Next is making the salsa verde (a mix of finely chopped carrot tops, parsley, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest). I love the idea of using carrot tops to minimize food waste. As I assembled the pasta onto a clean plate, I added some salsa verde around it for a beautiful touch. 

My Review of the Carrot Pasta Hack

Topping it with ricotta is optional, and although I didn’t add a spoonful of it, the dish still looked vibrant and tasted delicious. The pecorino cheese added a savory flavor profile to the dish, and the capers added a briny tang that balanced the sweetness of the carrots. 

This sauce is an alternative to the usual tomato-based sauce you’re used to pairing with pasta, and it doesn’t require you to chop a lot of ingredients. It also left me with some leftovers, which I dipped some toasted flatbread into and it was delicious. This is worth the effort if you’re trying to please any vegetarian eaters, impress other pasta-lovers, or simply want to add it to your meal lineup.