Cauliflower and Asparagus Pasta with Smoky Carrot Coulis and Fennel Ricotta | CUESA

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Returns March 17, 2022

Cauliflower and Asparagus Pasta with Smoky Carrot Coulis and Fennel Ricotta


Daniel Capra, Paula LeDuc Fine Catering


This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on March 12, 2017.

Makes 5 servings


Smoky Carrot Coulis (makes 1 quart)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1½ quarts carrot juice
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 cups heavy cream

Fried Carrots and Brussels Sprouts (makes 2 cups)
1 medium sized carrot, thinly shaved
3 to 4 Brussels sprouts, leaves separated
4 cups canola oil
Salt to taste

Roasted Garlic and Carrot Butter (makes 1 pound)
1 pound softened butter
½ cup roasted garlic cloves
½ cup finely grated carrot with juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon picked lemon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Fennel Ricotta (makes 1 pint)
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream    
1½ lemons, juiced
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel pollen   

2 cups cauliflower florets
1½ cups chopped asparagus (1 inch cut)
2 cups Smoky Carrot Coulis
3 cups cooked pasta (such as Baia Organic Durham Wheat Sardinians, cavatelli, or orecchiette)
½ cup Roasted Garlic and Carrot Butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
¾ cup shaved Parmesan
1 cup Fennel Ricotta
2 cups Fried Carrots and Brussels Sprouts


To prepare the Smoky Carrot Coulis: In a medium pot, gently brown the garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute. Add the oregano leaves, carrot juice, smoked paprika, and heavy cream. Bring to a boil, and reduce by half.

To prepare the Fried Carrots and Brussels Sprouts: Carefully heat the oil to 325˚F. Fry the carrots until they just begin to brown slightly, shrink, and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the Brussels sprouts leaves. Remove with a spider to drain on paper towels. Season with salt. Place in food dehydrator until needed.

To prepare the Roasted Garlic and Carrot Butter: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip on high until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Roll in parchment paper or portion in an ice cube tray and refrigerate until needed.

To prepare the Fennel Ricotta, combine the milk and cream in a large, thick-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid scorching. Once the milk is hot, stop stirring.

While the milk is heating, select a sieve or colander with a wide surface area. (This will help your curds cool more quickly.) Line the colander with a large piece of cheesecloth that has been folded numerous times, until you have about 5 or 6 layers. Place the lined colander over a large bowl or sink.

When the mixture reaches about 200˚F degrees, remove the pan from heat, add the lemon juice and salt, and stir gently until curds form. Remove the pan from heat, and gently begin to ladle curds into the prepared sieve. Allow mixture to drain for 15 minutes minimum to remove excess liquid from the cheese. Sprinkle with black pepper and fennel pollen. Once completely cooled, move to an airtight container and refrigerate if not using immediately. Eat within a few days.

Sauté the cauliflower and asparagus in olive oil on high heat for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper after cooking.

To assemble the dish, bring the carrot coulis to a boil, and add the cooked pasta. Toss together to warm the pasta. Add the cauliflower, asparagus, and butter. Toss to melt the butter. Add the parsley, thyme, and Parmesan and toss well; portion among bowls. Top with fennel ricotta and fried carrots and Brussels sprouts leaves.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »