In a food processor, mix the oil, garlic, nuts, and salt. Blend to a medium consistency. Gradually add basil leaves and continue blending until mixture forms a pesto paste. Transfer pesto to a small container and lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top to help prevent discoloration. Extra pesto sauce may be stored in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the carrots, leek, and fennel for 7-10 minutes, until crisp-tender. Add pasta to vegetables and mix well. Add arugula and mix well. Remove from heat. Add about 1/2 cup of pesto sauce to pasta and mix thoroughly. Portion the pasta on serving dishes, sprinkle generously with the Parmesan, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Tip: Leeks are a cousin to garlic, onions and shallots. When selecting, look for ones that have firm and straight dark green leaves and white necks. Store them in the refrigerator unwashed, untrimmed and placed loosely in a plastic bag until ready to use. Keeps for about one to two weeks.
Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving (using 1/2 c sauce and not including parmesan cheese):
720 calories, 29 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 100 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 20 g protein