You may never have heard of ramps. This is completely okay.
They are wild scallions, not able to be cultivated. If you have heard of ramps you have probably heard of the eternal springtime debate about whether they are worth all the fuss. I think they are. You may choose to disagree. This is also completely okay.
I happen to think they are worth the fuss because every year I go to a place they grow wild and pick them, in copious amounts (not enough to de-ramp the place—they actually come back stronger every year). If I were paying $5 for a small bunch I might not be such a ramp-vocate.
How Should I Use Ramps?
- Pasta Salad with Chicken, Picholine Olives, and Ramp Vinaigrette
- Green Olive and Ramp Tapenade
- Pasta and Salmon Salad with Ramp Dressing
- Ramp Chimichurri Sauce
- Simple Ramp Pasta
- Pasta with Ramps, Edamame, and Sugar Snap Peas in a Light Parmesan Cream Sauce
This is what ramps look like growing. You might walk right on by them if no one told you (I walked right on my them until my friend Christopher Idone told me).
And this is what ramps look like when they have been dug up, and washed. Pretty, right? You can use the whole thing, after trimming off the root.
Spring Ramp and Pea Risotto
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 20 ramps about 1/2 pound, trimmed and sliced, white and green parts
- 6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth or more as needed
- 1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan plus more to serve if desired
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the ramps for about 6 minutes until they are quite wilted.
- Meanwhile heat the broth over medium high heat in a separate pot until barely simmering. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Add the rice to the pot and stir until the rice is glistening and starting to become a bit translucent and is well coated with the ramps and oil. Add the white wine to the pot, and stir until it is almost evaporated. Add a big ladleful of broth to the pot and stirring frequently, wait for it to be almost completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat, adding smaller amount as the rice starts to become tender, but making sure that the rice is always a bit soupy and that the liquid never completely evaporated. You do not want it to be dry or clumpy. And if you think you will need more liquid as the amount of broth diminishes -- since it's always a bit of a mystery how much liquid short grain rice will absorb -- just add some more broth or water to the pot.
- After about 18minutes, the rice should be fairly tender, and the mixture should be creamy, with the starch that has released from the rice binding the mixture together. Stir in the peas and stir for another two minutes until the peas are cooked. Add another small amount of broth, and the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Stir in the 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
- Serve right way, in shallow bowls, with additional Parm on the side if desired.
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