I was both excited and worried as I gingerly pulled the dirt-encrusted radishes from my garden. Had the root grown? Had I left them for too long? And what was I going to do with all those radish tops?
The radishes were fine, beautiful even (who knew that plants would grow just fine if you left them?). I ate several of them straight from the ground after a quick wash, enjoying their raw spiciness. I also pickled some using Cookie + Kate’s easy recipe, to enjoy later on salads and sandwiches (on a tofu banh mi, anyone?).
But I still had quite a few left, plus all of the leafy greens that are often simply tossed. The greens themselves were slightly prickly, and, after chewing on one leaf thoughtfully, I nixed the idea of using them in a salad. Maybe I could get used to raw radish leaf, but not that day.
It was a Monday night, so I wanted something quick (and filling, after a long day at work). What could be easier, then, than pairing both parts of the radishes with fresh lemon juice and whole-wheat pasta in this simple pasta with radishes recipe?
This recipe came together fast. Slicing the onions and the radishes very thin allowed them to soften very quickly, and the radish tops just needed to be sautéed for a few minutes to lose their prickliness and bite. I had bought this cavatappi pasta because I thought the shape was fun, but any pasta will be excellent in this. The walnut and panko topping adds just enough crunch to make this dish feel decadent. Top with some lemon juice, and this feels like spring in a bowl (a very filling bowl that will keep you warm if the spring evenings are cool).
And, at the end of the night, you end up with this mess in your kitchen. Put on some good music and get to work.