When it comes to vegetables, I tend to love every part of 'em. Meaning I rarely, if ever, peel my potatoes, I'll leave the seeds inside my cucumbers if they don't taste too bitter, and I never, ever throw away the dark, lovely greens that top my bunches of beets and radishes. Many people cook with beet greens, incorporating them into soups and stews, but I think radish greens, which have a soft texture and peppery bite, are totally underutilized.
My absolute favorite way to cook with both beet and radish greens is to incorporate them into a pesto, making a sauce that's bolder and spicier than your average basil pesto, but just as versatile. I like to take the extra step of blanching the greens before grinding them up with toasted walnuts, raw garlic, and plenty of olive oil, to remove any toughness or bitterness. The resulting pesto is shot through with magenta from the ribs of the beet greens, adding an unexpected hue to your bowl of pasta.
In keeping with my whole-vegetable eating habits, this recipe reunites the greens with their roots. The beets and radishes get roasted in the oven and tossed on top of the finished pasta dish, adding earthy sweetness and even more color.
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