Mei making dumplings


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Irene making dumplings
Roasted Carrots and Acorn Squash with Carrot Top Pesto

Roasted Carrots and Acorn Squash with Carrot Top Pesto

roasted acorn squash and carrots with carrot top pesto

The recipe title here uses carrots and acorn squash specifically, but the technique will work for just about any root vegetable - think beets, parsnips, or sweet potatoes - or winter squash such as butternut or delicata. All you have to do is cut them into pieces and roast them, then make an herby green sauce with whatever herbs or leafy greens you have around. Extra points if your root vegetable had leaves and you use it to make your sauce. Seriously - dinner guests will be impressed and it's likely that even a judge on a Food Network cooking show will be impressed (we know from experience:).

The Rough Recipe

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish, takes about 45-ish minutes (mostly cooking time).

Here's what you'll need:

For the veggies:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 bunch carrots with greens
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • A rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan (or two, depending on what veggies you've got)

For the carrot-top pesto:

  • The greens from your carrot bunch, plus a bit of stems (compost the rest of the stems!)
  • Half a bunch of another leafy herb or green, such as cilantro, parsley, arugula, basil, or mint.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Kosher salt 
  • Optional additions: a clove of garlic, a handful of nuts, shaved Parmesan or another hard cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut your squash into small pieces (I usually peel butternut squash, but not acorn or delicata - the peels add nutty flavor and a nice contrasting texture). For large carrots, cut in quarters lengthwise; for medium carrots, maybe in half, for baby carrots you may not need to cut them at all. You can also cut them into bite-size pieces, but I like the look of the long carrot pieces.  

Put all the root veggies onto the roasting pans, separating onto two pans in case one vegetable cooks faster and if necessary to give the pieces some space to brown. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat all the pieces, sprinkle with salt, and toss to combine. Roast, tossing occasionally, until fork-tender with some browning on the exterior, about 25 to 40 minutes or more depending on the veggies you're using. 

Meanwhile, add your carrot tops and other herbs to a blender or food processor with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Puree to a coarse paste, then drizzle in olive oil until your desired texture is reached. Toss in any additions, salt generously to taste, and pulse to combine.  

You can eat the veggies hot, or make ahead and serve them at room temperature. To serve, lay them on a plate, drizzle with your sauce, and sprinkle with salt. Consider adding some crunchy things on top, like sesame seeds, crushed nuts, breadcrumbs or croutons. 

Save extra veggies and pesto in the fridge and use in just about any of the Hero Recipes!

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