Sometimes I go out into our vegetable garden and there is so much stuff I don’t know what to use first. And other times? There’s a whole lotta radish going on. And not much else.
This past weekend I was faced with radish overload. And salad, we also had that. Both radish and lettuce seeds grow into plants pretty fast, in about 3 weeks, and despite the weirdly whacky weather (hot weather way too early followed by cold so strong we actually lit the fireplace in May) the radishes and lettuce have thrived. Which was fine. I made lots of salad and even cooked up a side dish of these fantastically buttery stewed radishes.
But as a main course there wasn’t much going on in my garden.
When all else fails there is always pasta aglio, olio, peperoncino. Pasta with garlic, olive oil and hot peppers is always welcome and always doable since who doesn’t have those ingredients around? But this time I decided to add a fistful of herbs. Because even if summer seemed to be in full swing I didn’t have anything vegetable-looking to harvest. But I did have lots of fresh herbs.
I grabbed sage, rosemary, wild mint, chives, marjoram, parsley and a few leaves of the first basil. I even picked a few laurel leaves because, why not.
Since I wanted the herbs to be the star I left out the hot pepper and used a cheese – ricotta salata – which wouldn’t actually melt into the pasta and so overwhelm the taste of green.
But please don’t be tied down to this mix of herbs. Use whatever you’re growing. And if you’re not growing any herbs? You should be. Even the tiniest pot will come in handy. Especially when it’s spring and all you have in the house/garden is a bunch of radishes.
- 500 grams pasta (any short shape)
- 1 big bunch mixed herbs*
- 4 cloves spring garlic (or regular garlic)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Ricotta salata
- *I used a mixture of herbs from my garden: sage, rosemary, marjoram, parsley, laurel,chives, laurel, mint, basil. But use whatever is to hand, but only fresh, not dried.
- Prepare the herbs: separate the leaves from the stems of herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, etc. Place on a cutting board with the garlic and using a knife chop finely.
- If you are using basil or chives, chop those and keep them separate to add the end.
- If you are using laurel, leave these leaves whole.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold all the pasta, over low heat. Add the garlic and herb mixture and laurel if using and heat very gently, until the garlic is cooked through and the herbs are fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water
- Place the cooked pasta into the pan with the herb mixture and heat through, adding a bit of the cooking water and stirring. At the very end add the fresh herbs, stire and serve topped with the grated ricotta salata.