Top Chef Canada host, executive chef at middle-eastern DEZ in New York City and vegan—Eden Grinshpan gives us the lowdown on cooking with ramps this spring and summer.
There are so many amazing and unique varieties of fruit and vegetables that become available once winter over. I love exploring and cooking with seasonal produce that people may not have heard of before. For me, this means using ramps as much as possible. Ramps are some of the first spring produce available once the soil starts to thaw from the winter. They look like scallions, but the flavor is more pungent like garlic, with an earthy, mild onion taste. You can eat the entire ramp, from the bulb to the leaves, so don’t let any part of this spring veg go to waste!
Here’s a quick and easy spaghetti ramps and ramp pesto you can put together in under 30 minutes.
For the Ramp Pesto
2 cups ramp leaves
½ cup of fresh parsley
1/8 cup of toasted walnuts
1/8 cup of toasted pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ large lemon, juiced
2 tsp salt
For the Ramp Spaghetti
16 ounces dried spaghetti (I like De Cecco)
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 cup of ramp bulbs
sliced 2 tbsp olive oil
½ large lemon, juiced and zested
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp toasted walnuts
1 cup of pasta water reserved
salt and fresh black cracked pepper, to taste
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Be sure to season it well with 2 tlsp of salt. Cook the spaghetti for about 2 minutes less than the package instructions, it will continue to cook when it’s tossed with the sauce.
Meanwhile, place all of the ingredients for the ramp pesto in a food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.
Add olive oil to a large sautée pan and sweat the sliced ramp bulbs until fragrant and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt.
Using tongs, take the cooked spaghetti out of the pot and place it directly in the pan with the ramps.
Add 1 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp ramp pesto, and 2 tsbp of pasta water. Toss the pasta until the butter, pesto, and water are incorporated and coat the spaghetti.
Finish with lemon juice and zest, nuts, cracked black pepper and more pesto if desired.