June 20-22 Radish Pesto

June 20     tacos with the leftover skirt steak  and veggies , guacamole, salsa,
June 21     pasta salad with radish pesto
June 22     risotto with radish pesto, grilled radish and spicy shrimp

I am seriously having a cooking crisis over here. It's summer and when it's hot all I want to eat is watermelon and both The Kid and I are happy with watermelon, popsicles and a dinner of bread, dips, cheese and maybe a bit of meat on a stick from time to time but I have to keep cooking new stuff because I made this pact with Jen and Dianne and the devil and I have to stick to it. Last night it was time to eat and I truly just stood there in the kitchen and wanted to have a little cry. My feet have been kind of numb since Monday so it might have something to do with it, who knows. All I know is that I am finding this challenge really, really difficult at the moment and it would probably be a lot easier if I could feel all of my toes. I'm just saying.

Then I remembered that Jen made pesto from radish greens and I thought that was something I could do since I still had those beautiful radishes from the market. I didn't want to go whole hog with the radish greens so I used half basil and half greens and because I am terrified of pine nuts since my bout with pine mouth, I threw in some chopped walnuts instead. It ended up being quite tasty  so on Tuesday I tossed it with cold, cooked whole wheat rotini, some chopped radish and some roasted red, yellow and orange peppers and on Wednesday it went into a risotto.

Wednesday was Little Shack's official last day of school and he asked for risotto so I made a simple, basic version with the rest of the pesto, some grilled radish and grilled, spicy shrimp. The grilled radish was delicious and I am glad that I was so desperate to make something new that I stepped way out of my comfort zone. Oh, and thank you universe, for giving me a kid who reacts to finding out that the pesto was made from the radish leaves by saying "oh, that's cool!". I am eternally in your service.

Radish/Basil Pesto
1/2 cup loosely packed radish greens
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 tbls chopped walnuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
3 tbls olive oil
kosher salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor.

Pasta Salad with Radish Pesto

cooked whole wheat rotini, rinsed with cold water 
radish pesto
2 or 3 large radishes, julienned
2 or 3 tbls of chopped, roasted peppers
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Make sure your pasta is well drained and put it in a bowl. Add the radish and the roasted peppers and then start adding the pesto. Mix and add the pesto until it reaches the desired finished salad. Some people like lots of pesto so that it's really wet and some people only like a light coating of pesto so find your sweet spot.

Risotto with Radish Pesto, grilled radish and spicy shrimp
serves two as a main dish, or 3 as a side

about 900 ml chicken stock
white wine
olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup of arborio rice
about 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
2 large radishes, sliced into discs
6 shrimp (more if you are crazy for shrimp)
1 clove garlic
pinch hot chili flakes
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Toss the shrimp in a small bowl with about 1 tbls of olive oil, the clove of garlic, coarsely chopped, a pinch of chili flakes, a small pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and set aside.

In another small bowl, toss the radish disks (not super thin - they need to hold up to the grill pan) with a tbls of olive oil and set aside.

put the chicken stock in a sauce pot on the back burner and bring to a light simmer. Turn it down so it is just barely at a simmer. Meanwhile, heat a med sauté pan over med heat and add a little glug of olive oil and about 1 tbls of butter. Sauté the shallot for a few minutes until softened and then add the rice. Sauté the rice in the onion/butter/oil until the grains get white and opaque and then pour in a good glug of white wine - enough to coat the pan. Stir the rice until the wine is absorbed and then start adding the stock, one ladle full at a time. After each addition, stir the rice until most of the stock is absorbed, add another ladle full and keep repeating until the rice is done, about 20 minutes.

While this is going on, heat a grill pan over med to med-high heat and grill the radish slices, sprinkling them with salt on one side. Grill them for a few minutes or until they have nice grill marks, before turning them to do the other side. You just want to make sure they are cooked just enough but have grill marks. Remove them and t hen do the same with the shrimp. Just cook the shrimp until they are no longer pink and have some grill marks and then put those aside.

When the rice is finally finished, remove it from the heat and add the parmesan, stirring to incorporate the cheese. I didn't add the butter at the end because I was adding the pesto and it already had oil in it.

Ladle the risotto in the bowls, add a dollop of radish pesto to the top and you can let each person stir the pesto in themselves. Lay some radish and a few shrimp on each bowl.

As a testament to the tastiness of this risotto, I served Little Shack a large bowl and took that small, artfully arranged bowl outside to photograph. By the time I got back inside, he was licking his bowl and said "that was so good, is there any more?"
Being the good mother that I am, I took two bites of mine, handed it over to him and poured myself a glass of wine and made myself a bowl of popcorn.


  1. These recipes are a godsend for me right now! I've got an abundance of radishes ready to be harvested, but I didn't really have any idea what to do with them (besides slathering them with butter and a sprinkle of salt, that is).
    Love that the pesto means the greens don't go to waste, either.

  2. What a unique pesto! Love the way you used it! I am going to have to try my pesto in pasta salad this summer!

  3. My goodness this looks so light and refreshing. Love radishes!

  4. Learn how to make this delicious Radish Risotto in this cooking video brought to you by Miedema Produce.


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