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Cooking On The Couch: Fusilli with Asparagus-Radish Leaf Pesto

NEW YORK (WLNY) -- Most of us want to live greener lives.

But when it comes to daily waste, a lot of it comes from our kitchens -- especially in New York City with an absence of compost bins and backyard gardens.

There are easy ways to change your cooking habits to make the most of the ingredients you buy, and help keep needless trash to a minimum. Cookbook author and private chef Phoebe Lapine showed us a 'recycle recipe' to try yourself on Earth Day.

2 lb asparagus
1 lb fusilli
1 cup radish leaves, tightly packed
½ cup mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup grated parmesan
¾ cup pinenuts, toasted
¼ cup olive oil
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanche the asparagus for a few minutes, until just tender. Remove with tongs to an ice bath or a colander under cold running water. Set aside.

2. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. During the last minute of cooking. Drain in a colander.

3. While the pasta is cooking, cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Add the pieces from the bottom third of the stalks to a small food processor. Pulse the asparagus along with the radish leaves, mint, garlic, lemon juice, ¼ cup of the pinenuts, and the olive oil (add more as necessary to create a smooth consistency). Mix in half the parmesan and season to taste.

4. Toss together the pasta, remaining asparagus, radishes, and pesto. Garnish with the remaining pinenuts and parmesan. Best if served immediately. If serving room temperature, make sure you re-taste for seasoning once the pasta has cooled.

Recycled Veggie Stock
Makes 1 quart

We create so much waste simply from prepping the vegetables we integrate into our daily diets. But every part of the vegetable contains flavor, even if they aren't pleasant to munch on as-is. My trick is to use two garbage bowls when prepping - one for non-edible scraps, and the other for various parts of my veggies. At the end of cooking, I'll add those scraps to a ziplock bag and store them in my freezer. Every time I cook, I add to the same bag. One day a month, I'll make a big batch of stock using the contents. The garlic and onion skins, thyme and basil stems, tops and bottoms of zucchini - the list goes on - all add so much flavor to the broth. You save money that you would have ordinarily spent on store-bought stock, and help keep the planet a greener place by allow your waste to dissolve in a pot of simmering water instead of a trash bag on the street.

4 cups veggie and herb scraps (carrot peelings, onion and garlic skins, celery leaves, fennel fronds, tops and bottoms of zucchini, herb stems)
8 cups water
10 peppercorns
2 bay leaves

1. Combine the veggie scraps, bay leaves, peppercorns, and water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil.

2. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 to 6 hours, until deeply colored and flavorful. Set a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour the stock through the sieve. Discard or compost remaining solids (many will have dissolved). Store the stock in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer until the next time you make soup.

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