Ramps are here!!! If you remember Plate and Pour's obsession last year with ramps and morels, you can imagine my delight when I found some beautiful tiny ramps at the Far West Fungi Mushroom shop.
I had just returned from the farmer's market and we were headed to the SF Vintner's Market Spring Flight to spend Saturday afternoon tasting wines from smaller local wineries. Think a farmer's market but for wine! Since we would be walking around tasting a bunch of wines for 3 hours, we needed a satisfying lunch to absorb all that wine. It was the perfect excuse to make a dish with the just-procured ramps.
Ramps are so very delicate that they beg for the simplest preparation, like a quick saute until they just wilt, to bring out the true flavors of Spring. You may remember the spaghetti with ramps and toasted bread crumbs I raved about last year. Sometimes a dish is so wonderful and simple that it doesn't need any tweaking. This is definitely that kind of dish- easy, fast, and incredibly satisfying.
I can't think of another vegetable that creates such a mania amongst the seasonally obsessed like the brief springtime arrival of ramps. If you are in the Midwest, you are likely familiar with the ramps and morels obsession that hits menus across town around this time of year. So far I haven't seen such a following in California but time will tell.
Quick, run to your local farmer's market this weekend and try to wrestle away a bunch or two of ramps!
Spaghetti with Ramps (adapted from Mario Batali)
1 bunch of ramps, about 12-15
1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 tbsp olive oil
Maldon or other flaky salt
1/2 lb spaghetti
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs toasted in olive oil (see recipe below)
For bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 slices of bread
Tear 2 slices of good rustic bread into roughly 1" pieces. Grind in a food processor to coarse size leaving some pieces slightly larger. In a small sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add coarse fresh bread crumbs and toast until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Cook spaghetti just before al dente in salted water. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Thoroughly clean the ramps, removing the translucent husk over the bulb if necessary. Thinly slice the bulb and stems, reserving the leaves.
In a large sauté pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter foams. Sauté the bulbs and stems of the ramps until soft but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with Maldon or other flaky salt.
Add ramp leaves and cook until leaves are wilted, about a minute.Transfer spaghetti to sauté pan with 2 tbsp reserved pasta water. Toss gently to coat well, and if necessary, increase heat to high to evaporate the liquid.
Transfer to plates and dust with fresh bread crumbs toasted in olive oil (see recipe below). If desire, top with freshly grated pecorino romano. I didn't find it necessary to add cheese.