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Centre-Stage Carrots (with whipped lemon ricotta and pistou)

Struggling again with a surfeit of carrots, this summer recipe has again convinced me that they might be underrated. This pistou - that's pesto but without pine nuts - combines the earthiness of carrot tops with the pungent sweetness of basil and mingles with the cool, light ricotta. The carrots are roasted slowly and simply until soft and are nothing like those chewy sideshows to a Sunday roast, especially as the now pistou-soaked ricotta melts around them. Serve with salads and call it summer food.

Serves 2, as a main with salads

  • 5/6 carrots and their tops

  • 1 tub ricotta

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • handful basil

  • olive oil

  • handful grated parmesan

  • 2 tsp maple syrup

  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar


For the ricotta:

  1. Using an electric whisky (or elbow strength if you must), beat the ricotta with a drizzle of olive oil until soft and creamy.

  2. Mix in the zest of a lemon, salt and pepper and slather on a plate.

For the carrots:

  1. Preheat the over to around 160 degrees.

  2. Scrub the carrots and toss them in a roasting tin with olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon.

  3. Roast for around 30-35 minutes, occasionally turning and basting.

For the pistou:

  1. Combine garlic, basil, parmesan, carrot tops, the juice of the remaining 1.5 lemons and enough olive oil to form a loose paste.

  2. Loosen with olive oil and water to your preferred consistency.

Assemble

  1. Place the carrots on the ricotta, drizzle over the the pistou.


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