I’ve been reading (re: obsessing) about ramps all week long. Most of the farmer’s markets in Boston don’t open until May but our food editor in my office tracked them down at Formaggio Kitchen and several Whole Foods in the area. I was able to grab a few prime (albeit excruciatingly dirty — it was like they dug them up outside just hours before) handfuls at the Whole Foods on Symphony. Success!
Ramps are kind of strange. When I bought them, they rang up as wild leeks which is a good way to think of them. They’re more pungent than a leek and obviously much slimmer, like a scallion. But they taste somewhere in between garlic and a shallot. Overall, they’re absolutely delicious.
Ramp pesto with pine nuts, parmesan, and lemon
adapted from Food52
10-15 ramps, cleaned
3 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
cracked black pepper
1 handful of spaghetti, cooked in salted water until al dente
2 slices of bacon, chopped
Slice off green leaves from ramps, blanch until bright green (about 30 seconds)
Remove roots and slice white parts of ramps into 1-inch pieces. Add with drained and dried leaves to food processor. Pulse. Add pine nuts. Pulse. Slowly pour in olive oil until a creamy (but not wet) texture is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse.
Squeeze in lemon half (be careful of seeds!) and spoon 2-3 tablespoons over spaghetti. Toss and sprinkle with bacon, parm, and cracked pepper.