Well it looks like today is going to be another double post day, because I’ve been meaning to throw this one up since I made it the day before yesterday and I wanted to post it before I wrote about the soup I made this morning. This one is another super-trendy entry, by my estimation at least, judging from all the stuff I’ve seen on Taste Spotting and Foodgawker with ramps in it, but oh well.
After reading one particular blog post at night, I went Frisbee golfing the next day with a bunch of friends (I’m not ashamed – it’s fun!) and after a really wretched throw I had to fetch my Frisbeedisc brand “S-Driver” from the bottom of a hill. You see, we were on the fifth or sixth hole and so pretty far into the woods and my driver S’ed the wrong way. About halfway down the hill, I spotted those tell-tale pale green tufts of broad leaves (I must have “had my eyes on” as Michael Pollan would put it, because they stood out to me for some reason like a flashing neon sign, I wasn’t even looking for them). Easily distractable as I am, I started pulling up fistfuls of the guys. I got pretty far behind the rest of the people I was frolfing with, but eventually tracked down my disc and caught up with a green tongue, AWFUL breath, and a handful of ramps.
Ever since then, I’ve kind of been ramp crazy. I just can’t help but notice them and cry out to anyone who will hear: “Ramps!” This past weekend at Zoar valley I found some more and chewed them until my spit turned green, and then Monday when I was walking my dog, I spotted some in a little stand of trees on Knox Farm in East Aurora. Being close to home, I decided to harvest some and cook with them. What I came up with was a deliciously flavored and colored pasta primavera with a ramp and pepita pesto (I told you it was trendy). In addition to being the Italian word for spring, primavera literally translates as “first green,” and you can’t get much greener than this dish here. Look at how lovely my little wild springtime leeks are in the afternoon sun:
Farfalle Primavera with Ramp Pesto
2 cups fresh ramps, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
3 cups mixed vegetables (I had broccoli and zucchini so I used that)
2 servings farfalle (I don’t really know how much it is measured out, use your head)
Toast the pepitas in a dry pan over medium heat until they just start to change color, maybe 2 minutes, 2 and a half max.
Blend the pepitas with the ramps, the olive oil, the cheese, and seasonings until you get a thick paste. I had kind of a hard time with this one, it would probably be easier with an immersion blender or a food processor or something than with your standard smoothie blender. Also, you might want to roughly chop up the ramps before blending to make them more manageably-sized. I didn’t do this and it took a lot of blending and shaking to finally get it to the consistency I wanted.
While all that’s going on, boil and salt some water for your pasta, then throw it in. To save on dishes, I just put my steamer insert right over the top of the boiling pasta water and steamed all the vegetables right there. You could even just throw them in the water when there’s only a couple minutes left. Both ways give the pasta water a nice light green cast that will be good for when you mix it with the thick pesto to make your sauce.
When it’s all done, drain your pasta, reserving some of the water, then mix a little of the water in with your ramp pesto to make a more liquid-y sauce. It comes out so wonderfully green!
Toss some of the sauce with your pasta and vegetables and top with more cheese if you want (you obviously do), and whatever else to make it pretty. We had some chives coming up in the herb garden so I put some of those on too. More pepitas would also be nice, and I also put a lot more crushed red pepper on mine. A word to the wise, though, a little of this sauce goes a LOOOONNNNNG onion-y way, so be sparing at first and taste it before you put more on there. I made the mistake of putting a shit ton on at first and my mouth tasted like ramps until 3 in the morning.
This recipe makes 2-3 servings with some pesto left over.