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Do you know what season it is? April 28, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, random stuff.
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It has been a cold, wet spring here in the Northeast, hasn’t it?  But around here, April brings more than showers.

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The first truly fresh, local produce I see at the market – before asparagus, peas, or even rhubarb – is the year’s first ramps, or wild leeks.

Ah, ramps – truly the first harbinger of spring – a cause for celebration, indeed!

There is one vendor at the market who is always the first to offer ramps – as a farmer, he knows as well as anyone how impatient we can get waiting for spring, I guess.

Anyway, I grabbed my bundle of springtime, soaked and cleaned the little buggers, and pondered how best to enjoy my leek-ish goodness.

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While we could certainly go with something like scrambled eggs, and to be sure, I’d be enjoying them on pizza, I wanted something a little different – a little more exciting.  After all, if you’re going to have a once-a-year treat, it should certainly be something you’ll remember, right?

And since Saturday is pasta night, we thought it would be nice to incorporate some ramps with pasta.

Pasta with oil and garlic ramps?  I think we can do a little better than that.

Bacon goes so well with leeks – I thought it might not offend wild leeks, so we thought we’d go that direction – so how, you might ask, would we incorporate pasta, bacon, and a pungently aromatic herb/vegetable like ramps?

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We chopped about 4 slices of bacon into about 1/4-inch pieces, and then went to work on the ramps.

Because the ramp is built like a leek, only smaller, and with with thinner, flatter leaves, the bulb, or white part, will take a little longer to cook.  We divided the vegetable into two different installments – the white bit was minced and treated like garlic.  I set the green leafy bits aside for a little later.

Started cooking up the bacon, then added the white bits of the ramps – oh, this was going to be so good!

While the bacon and ramps were cooking, we also started about half a pound of pasta – I think here we used regular old spaghetti, though it might have been linguine.

PhotobucketAnd then we thought about sauce – what we’re going for here is a carbonara-type dish, only with lots of ramps instead of a little bit of garlic.

Once the bacon and ramps were done, we slowly poured in about 1/4 cup of white wine – just let that boil a few minutes until the alcohol flavor has subsided and the liquid has reduced a bit.

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Now is when we’re going to add the chopped green bits of the ramps – I want to wilt the greens, but not turn them to mush.

Always thinking, I am, huh?

Once the pasta’s done (just to al dente, of course), I scooped out about half a cup of pasta water before draining it.

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And once the pasta is just barely drained, we dumped it right in the pan with the bacon and stuff, then tossed it.

Now, we’re going to be building a sauce, but before we do that, we want to make sure the pasta’s not sticky first.  Although we’ve tossed it with a bacon fat-white wine mixture, it really isn’t much liquid, so we’ll want to add a little of the water we saved from the pasta.

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And now for the sauce – it’s a simple matter of a couple of eggs, beaten, with about 1/3 cup or so of some nice grated romano  cheese.  This makes an awfully thick “sauce” but don’t worry – as long as the pasta isn’t sticky, the eggy cheese sauce will spread  over the pasta evenly and it’ll be very good.

And once we grated some good parmiggiano over the bowls of pasta, it was truly delightful.

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Comments

1. Barb Cooper - April 28, 2011

I’ve never cooked with ramps before. This is lovely!

Barb, you may be able to find them downstate – I’d just treat them like leeks.

2. judy - April 28, 2011

Looks delicious even though I have not even had breakfast yet! Enjoy your ramps. I know you wait and wait and wait for them.

Oh, you know me so well, Judy!

3. The Innkeeper's Daughter - May 14, 2011

Lovely, just brought home my spring batch. Going into a quiche for a sick friend, but I may have to save some for a cheated Carbonara. Ps, new to you, like your style! Yolande

We just enjoyed this again for dinner with the last of the season’s ramps. Definitely a keeper!

4. Take a Walk on the Wild Side « Dark Side of the Fridge - June 2, 2011

[...] I not only have the chance to buy produce that you don’t often see in stores – like ramps, garlic scapes, fiddleheads, fresh fava beans, and mom-shelled lima beans, to name a few – I [...]


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