This roasted carrot pasta dish is delicious in its own right, but adding the charred leeks takes it to a whole other level.
The roasted carrot leaves are not necessary. I just happen to have a tiny maple leaf canape cutter and a bit too much time on my hands. I will admit to being quite proud of my plating of this dish until my Ex, the professional chef, pointed out that it looked as though I were advertising the Michelin guide star system, something which I now cannot unsee.
1 portion of your favorite pasta (I used Campanelle for this dish, but pasta preferences and portion sizes are very subjective.)
The white of one thick leek, washed well, quartered lengthwise and then halved (reserve the greens for a lunch of oven roasted leek tops with poached egg on toast)
2 large organic carrots, unpeeled
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (reserve one tablespoon to top the dish when dressing it)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425.
Wash the carrots well. Tip and tail them. Half them and place them on a foil or parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with two teaspoons of the olive oil and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, turning them over at the half way mark, so that the edges and skin caramelize.
While the carrots are cooking, boil the water needed for the pasta and cook 30 seconds less than the directions on the package. Drain == reserving one cup of the pasta cooking water -- and set aside.
Once the carrots are roasted, remove them from the oven. Remove the carrots from the tray and add the leeks in their place. Add the remaining oil to the pan and toss the leeks in it and any oil still left in the baking tray from cooking the carrots.
Place in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, until the leeks are tender and starting to caramelize around the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
Place one and a half of the carrots in a blender along with the butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and half a cup of the reserved pasta water. Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
Add the pasta back into the pan along with the carrot sauce. Heat through over medium heat, adding more of the reserved pasta water if needed to obtain the sauce consistency that you prefer. Toss in the leeks and the remaining half carrot, cut into very thin coins or half coins.
Spoon into your serving dish and top with the remaining grated Parmesan.