I'm one of those people who buys root vegetables with the leaves intact with the intent to cook them up as kind of a "freebie." But most of the time I forget about the greens for a couple of days, and then by the time I get around to using them, they've all but shriveled up. Recipes like this super-quick radish-top pasta from Clotilde Dusoulier's new book, The French Market Cookbook, however, encourage me to change my ways. In the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta, you toast a handful of walnuts, sauté a bit of garlic, and wash and wilt the greens. Toss the cooked pasta in with a splash of pasta water and you're nearly to dinner. A fresh grate of nutmeg adds extra warmth to the greens and a scattering of Parmesan or pecorino will finish things off with a salty bang.
Why I picked this recipe: Frankly, I needed the encouragement to use those gorgeous radish tops I keep buying.
What worked: This almost-effortless recipe puts my vegetable-top laziness to shame.
What didn't: Not a one.
Suggested tweaks: You could use any tender greens here. Leaves from turnips or beets would work particularly well. If you want a heartier meal, you could add a cup of drained and rinsed white beans or chickpeas to the skillet with the garlic and shallots.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.