Elegant, date-night-worthy pasta on a weeknight, ready in under 30 minutes? Yes, yes yes, my friend, this one checks all the boxes!
In a spin-off of the use of carrot ribbons in my pasta primavera recipe, this recipe takes carrot ribbons in pasta to the next level. Because who would want carrot pasta without carrot ribbons?! They intertwine with pappardelle noodles, blending in seamlessly.
Then there is cozy and comforting fresh thyme, giving this pasta all the fall vibes, along with aromatic shallot and garlic, in a light sauce that brings the flavor with these simple ingredients.
The spotlight shines extra brightly on our star ingredient: carrots! Used in this pasta recipe in two ways, this common vegetable shines in unexpected ways.
If you haven’t made carrot ribbons before, prepare to have your world rocked! They’re easy to make, and take the whole experience of the dish to the next level!
Thinly shaved carrots become long strips or ribbons. They’re tender and smooth, and twirl themselves into the pasta in the most beautiful ways!
Because there’s no food waste, and to add to the texture of the pasta, this recipe also uses diced carrots.
Additional Ingredient Notes
A few other ingredient notes to mention. As always, be sure to see the full recipe card below for all ingredients and instructions.
- Fresh Thyme: I highly recommend using the fresh herb, instead of dried, in this recipe. It adds a whole lotta flavor, and since this dish uses simple ingredients, each one makes a difference.
- Garlic: you know we’ve gotta have fresh garlic in pasta! I originally tested this recipe with thinly sliced garlic, which was good (who doesn’t love a thin slice of garlic?!). But after testing it with minced garlic, I much preferred the bold flavor it added.
- Shallot: another testing discovery. I used yellow onion in one test, but the mild, slightly sweeter shallot flavor added a lot more complexity to the recipe than the yellow onion. If you do use yellow onion instead, I recommend making sure it’s quite tender and caramelized in the saute process.
- Pappardelle Pasta: the wide noodles work wonders in this recipe with the carrot ribbons! Substitute fettuccine or even spaghetti noodles if needed.
How to Make Carrot Ribbons
It’s really quite easy to make beautiful strips of carrot ribbons. You will need a vegetable peeler to ensure you can get them thin enough. Oh, and be sure to use whole carrots for this.
- Do not trim the top off of the carrot; you will need to hold onto this end. You can trim the other end, if needed.
- Wash the carrot well. I use the outside layer of the carrot, as long as it is cleaned well, it’s full of nutrition and texture!
- Hold the carrot in one hand and use the vegetable peeler to peel strips of the carrot the entire length down. While a swivel vegetable peeler will work, I much prefer a Y-peeler for this task.
- When you’ve reached the “center” of the carrot, flip it over and continue peeling it the same way on the other side. This will give you wide carrot strips.
- Once you’ve reached the “center” on the other side, set the carrot aside to dice later on.
Let’s Make Carrot Pasta!
And now with those carrots prepped, let’s put it all together and make carrot pasta.
As with most pasta recipes, before you begin, get that large pot of salted water on the stovetop so it can come to a boil as you prepare the sauce. When it’s ready, cook the pasta to just under al dente, because it will finish cooking in the sauce.
Speaking of the sauce, it starts with the shallot and diced carrot simmering together in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Not unlike our homemade tomato sauce, as these veggies soften, their flavor develops.
Once they’ve softened, add some red pepper flakes for depth of flavor, the lovely and fragrant fresh thyme, parsley, garlic, and carrot ribbons. Since the ribbons are so thin, they need less cook time than the diced carrots.
I also recommend adding two or so dashes of Worchestershire sauce; it adds depth and a great umami-ness to balance out the sweetness of the carrots. Be sure it’s vegetarian if needed.
Deglaze the pan with white wine or vegetable stock. Dry white wine works best if you have it on hand; this is another ingredient that will really add a depth of flavor to the sauce, but if you don’t have it, feel free to substitute with additional stock.
Add the remaining vegetable stock and bring it to a simmer until slightly reduced and thick. Stir in some pasta water, half and half, and the under-al-dente cooked noodles to coat. Cook for a few minutes as it all comes together.
Yes, the garnishes get their own section because they are very important to talk about!
- Carrot Tops: if you bought carrots with green tops, use them! Chop up those wispy greens and use them as a garnish to the pasta, similar to chopped fresh parsley…speaking of…
- Parsley: bright and fresh, this herb is also wonderful added as a garnish with the carrot tops or on its own.
- Toasted Walnuts: you can use untoasted walnuts, but heating them to bring a lovely warmth of flavor is *the* way to garnish this pasta. The crunch pairs well and walnuts and carrots are a perfect match.
And while I haven’t mentioned it one time for this pasta, of course, a garnish of parmesan cheese is always welcome, too.
Between all of the carrots, herbs, and nut garnish, this meal has got it all! To make it go further, or to add extra deliciousness to the meal, try one of these sides:
- Roasted Broccolini or Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts make the perfect green veggie side dish to pair with the carrots.
- Light green salad pairs well, too. Try white balsamic vinaigrette on greens for a bright, punchy pairing.
- You can never go wrong with a chunk of a crusty baguette to sop up any remaining sauce in your bowl!
Storage Tips & Reheating
This pasta holds up pretty well as leftovers, which is excellent for tomorrow’s lunch!
Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge. If you have any leftover reserved pasta water, consider pouring a tablespoon or two in with the pasta; this will help reconstitute the sauce when reheated.
You can also add a little cream when you are reheating the pasta to help the sauce stay…saucy.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through. Be sure to add extra garnishes, too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Carrot Pasta with Carrot Ribbons and Fresh Thyme
- 16 ounces dried parpardelle or fettuccine noodles
- 3 whole carrots, ribboned*
- 1 cup carrots, small diced*
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shallot, finely diced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce, vegetarian if needed
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry white wine, or additional vegetable stock
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When ready, cook the pasta according to directions on the package to just shy of al dente. Continue on with the recipe as the water comes to a boil. Set out a measuring cup to remind yourself to reserve pasta water.16 ounces dried parpardelle or fettuccine noodles
- To prepare the carrots, first use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons by peeling on one side, then flipping to the opposite side and peeling it until you cannot anymore. Dice the remaining part of the carrot so it doesn’t go to waste. Set aside.3 whole carrots, 1 cup carrots
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt butter and heat oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the diced shallot and carrot, along with a pinch of salt, and saute for 8-10 minutes.2 Tablespoons butter, 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup shallot, Kosher salt
- Stir in garlic, thyme, and carrot ribbons, along with two dashes of Worchestershire sauce. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and/or freshly ground black pepper as desired, and another pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes.4 garlic cloves, Pinch red pepper flakes, 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme, 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Deglaze the pan with white wine or vegetable stock. Let it reduce for 1-2 minutes, then add remaining stock. Bring to a simmer to reduce slightly and thicken, for approximately 5 minutes.¼ cup dry white wine, 1 cup vegetable stock
- This is a great time to toast the walnuts! Add them to a small skillet over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until warm and fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Chop, and set aside for garnish.1/2 cup walnuts
- Once the noodles are just under al dente – reserve some pasta water – then drain, but DO NOT rinse. Then, add them to the pot with the sauce and toss to coat. Stir in additional pasta water, starting with ¼ cup, and half and half. Bring to a simmer again, for about 2 minutes, until pasta is cooked to al dente.½ cup reserved pasta water, ¼ cup half and half
- Serve with chopped walnuts and carrot greens/parsley on top.
- Carrots: you’ll need 5-6 whole carrots in total, around 1 pound.