Although I do love a long list of ingredients and spices in certain recipes, there are days when only simple stuff will do, and by that I mean downright humble simple. A slice of cold watermelon, bunch of strawberries, plain soup, buffalo mozzarella, plain salad leaves and a simple bowl of rice and yoghurt are but a few examples. There is something totally comforting in simple food, and if you’re fasting and wanting to give your digestive system a rest, then maybe that’s just what you should do.. uncomplicated. What amazes me is how in different parts of the world people come up with ingenious food creations totally blowing your mind away. Of course the quality and freshness of the ingredient at hand makes a huge difference. In this case I am referring to the way the French serve radishes (leaves and all) with a small bowl of butter and salt on the side – I imagine they would also be delicious served with mayonnaise or a grating of lemon zest.
In keeping with my mad fixation of radishes for now (they have invaded our garden!), I came up with the idea to sauté the large pile of radish leaves in some butter and olive oil, lemon zest and plenty of seasoning to finish. It has a similar consistency to pesto, with a subtle difference of being a much lighter version – there isn’t as much olive oil or pine nuts added. Apart from preparing the pasta and blending the sautéed greens, there isn’t much work needed to make this dish. Simple, light and summery. What’s more, my children ate it and that was enough to keep me happy!
Green Radish Pasta – Serves 4
- 230 g / 8 ounces fusilli pasta (or any other shape you desire)
- 15-25 g / 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 150 g / 4 cups fresh radish leaves, rough stalks removed and roughly chopped
- A small bunch of fragrant leaves, such as basil or coriander
- 250 ml / 1 cup stock or your choice
- Sea salt, to taste
- A sprinkle of your favourite spice, e.g. all-spice, turmeric, etc, optional
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Sliced radishes, shaved parmesan, roasted silver almonds or pine nuts, for garnish.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain in cold water and add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Leave aside.
Heat the butter and olive oil a large frying pan over a medium heat, and add the garlic once the butter is melted. Cook the garlic for 1 minute or so – any longer and you risk burning it. Add the chopped radish leaves and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes or so. Add the basil or coriander, stock, spice if using, and the lemon zest. Simmer on a medium heat until about half the stock is evaporated, another 4 minutes. Blend into a an almost smooth paste, similar to pesto consistency. This ensures the kids cannot pick out the green bits, I know I can be cruel!
Return to the heat, add the pasta and lemon juice to taste, and serve in 4 bowls. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sliced radishes, parmesan or handful of roasted almonds or pine nuts to garnish.