Hand-Cut Linguine with Carrot-Tomato Cream and Pecorino Toscano


Photo by Michael Piazza

Adding carrots to the sauce boosts nutrition and gives it an earthy, deep sweetness, balancing the acidity of the tomato purée. Young, mild Pecorino Toscano gives a nice creaminess to the sauce but if it’s hard to find you can use Pecorino Romano instead. If you’re cooking this recipe with kids, let them squash the cooked carrots into the tomatoes with a potato masher for a chunky, more textural sauce—otherwise, if you prefer a smooth purée, use a stick (immersion) blender right in the pot.

Serves 4–6

¾ pound carrots (a mix of yellow and orange is fine), coarsely chopped
sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
½ onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3 leaves fresh basil, plus more for serving (or fresh thyme leaves)
½ bottle tomato passata or purée (about 12 ounces or 1½ cups)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Toscano (or Pecorino Romano), plus more for serving
1 recipe
fresh pasta dough, rolled and hand-cut into linguine (¼-inch-wide noodles)

Place the chopped carrots in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8–10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together, then add the onion, garlic and cooked carrots. Sauté, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the carrots are browning at the edges. Add the basil, tomato purée and ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring (and adding a few tablespoons of water if the mixture gets dry), about 10 minutes. Mash the carrots with a potato masher (or use a stick blender to purée), then add the cream. Stir, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the cheeses.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Add the linguine to the boiling salted water and cook until they float, 1–2 minutes. Using tongs, lift the pasta into the pot of sauce along with some of its cooking water, swirl to coat, then portion the pasta into warmed shallow bowls.

Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, some chopped basil or thyme, cracked pepper and both cheeses grated on top.

This recipe appeared in the Spring 2019 issue as part of a larger story on fresh pasta and kids cooking.