Sunday, November 18, 2007

Turnip tops with cavatelli

Well, radish tops, actually. They look like turnips, I got confused and I ended up with a better recipe so I suppose it ended up for the best. I've done the recipe before with genuine turnip tops and, as far as I can recall, the radish tops worked just about the same.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I made the turnip [radish] tops with cavatelli last night. I could have sworn I took a picture, but it's not in my phone so I guess I did something wrong. Here's a picture of someone else's version I stole from

This is typical traditional Italian peasant fare and is very simple, really. Bring a big pot of heavily salted water to a boil, add the greens, cook 8 minutes or so, remove, add the pasta, cook until not quite al dente. Meanwhile, lightly fry garlic or anchovies or capers or red pepper in olive oil just enough to release the flavors. I used all four which would be a bit of a splurge for a peasant, I suppose; I found it to be a little too much for the relatively mild turnip [radish] greens. Optionally, you can add some bread crumbs, too. Next time I think I'd go with just garlic and bread crumbs. That's another traditional Italian preparation without the greens.

Of course all this frugality is lost if you use fancy store-bought pasta like I did. I had the cavatelli on hand due to one of my periodic whims to purchase the extra-fancy version of some ingredient to see if it's really worth the exorbitant price. Usually it isn't, but the hand-rolled cavatelli has a nice chewy texture unmatched by anything Ronzoni offers. On the other hand, Ronzoni is a pretty good choice for your extruded pasta needs. A lot of the more expensive Italian brands are using semolina flour imported from the US anyway so all you're paying for is a couple of sea cruises for the wheat.

Anyway, add the greens and the pasta to the frying pan, making sure just a little bit of the cooking water is included, cook over high heat for a few minutes so the pasta finishes cooking and absorbs some of the flavor from the sauce, and you're done. Easy and pretty tasty.

Edit: the photo I took belatedly showed up in my camera's memory. Here's what it my version looked like. Despite the bad lighting, I think you can see that, compared to my preparation, the photo from the website overcooked both the greens and pasta. Cavatelli shouldn't be unrolling like that and the greens shouldn't have that light-green boiled-out color.

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