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Every year around this time, I am in the mood for more “spring”… well, everything, but especially recipes. Since I try to cook seasonally, the options for winter produce in the midwest can start to feel… heavy… and limited.
This is especially the case this year, since we have been spending our late winter and early spring months in our homes to practice social distancing. I’m usually a 2 or 3 times per week grocery shopper, but I’ve been trying to cut back to one trip every 10 days or so. This has led to some interesting purchases and recipes.
Most produce just doesn’t stay good for that long, so I have been trying to be thoughtful about buying fresh veggies that I know will last a little while in the fridge. Carrots, cabbage, and sweet potatoes are all great options, but I really needed to add some more spring vibes to the kitchen. When I saw the pretty pink hues of the radishes at the grocery store, I loaded up.
Then, when I got home, I promptly panicked — what the hell am I going to do with 3 bunches of radishes? (Also, how did I not have onions on my grocery list? This is another story for another time.)
So, this recipe was born. In addition to radishes, another underappreciated veggie comes into the fold — celery. They’re sauteed, braised a bit, then tossed with pasta and some cheese. A dish that is comforting, yet light, and perfect for an evening on the couch.
I’m hoping that a year from now, when I get the same springtime itch, that I’ll be making this recipe for a dinner party and the pandemic will be behind us.
Some helpful notes:
Radishes are grown in sandy soil, so they are sometimes still pretty sandy at the grocery store. I highly, highly recommend a salad spinner to wash the greens. I put them all in the basket, fill the bowl part up with water, swish them around, then drain the sandy water out. I had to do this 3 times for my greens to be completely clean!
If you don’t have one and have no interest in owning one, you can use the same technique with a sink or large bowl full of water. Swish the greens around a bit, letting all of the sand fall to the bottom. Then take your greens out and dry them well.
To get all of the sandy pieces off of the radish bulbs themselves, I scrubbed them lightly with a vegetable brush like this one. Elbow grease also works here.
- 1 bunch radishes greens and bulbs separated and washed well
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for finishing
- ¼ cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
- ¾ cup or more chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ lb dry spaghetti or other long pasta
- ½ cup fresh herbs loosely packed then finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put a large pot of well salted water on to boil.
- Cut the radish bulbs into quarters. If some radishes are small, cut them in half so they are about the same size as the others. Roughly chop the washed radish greens.
- Trim the ends off of the celery, then slice the stalks about ¼” thick on a diagonal. Then, peel and thinly slice the shallot.
Cook the vegetables
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil and butter are hot, add the radish bulbs, celery, and shallot to the pan. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and pick up a little color. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine to the pan, taking caution as it may splatter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, and scraping up any browned pieces of vegetable from the bottom of the skillet.
- Add ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock and the chopped radish greens to the pan. If your pan is very large, you may need to add more. The liquid shouldn’t cover the vegetables, but come up about halfway. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. If needed, add more stock to the pan if it evaporates before the vegetables are tender. Stir in most of the chopped herbs, reserving some for garnish.
Finish the dish
- While the radishes, celery, and shallots are cooking, add your pasta to the boiling salted water. Cook for two minutes less than the package directs, then drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Add the cooked pasta and ½ cup of pasta water to the skillet with the cooked vegetables. Stir until everything is combined, then add the parmesan cheese, continuing to stir. If the pasta seems dry, add a little more of the reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the pasta into bowls and top with the remaining herbs. Enjoy!