April 30th, 2009

Yup, A Post on Ramps (Whole Wheat Angel Hair with Ramps and Creamy Parmesan)

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Most every respectable food blog has one: a post on ramps. These delicious wild leeks create a frenzy at farmer’s markets for just a few short weeks every Spring. I almost skipped them (well, posting about them—I wouldn’t skip making them), just because. But this simple ramp pasta was just too yummy. And, as it turns out, my desire to talk about good food trumped my desire to be a smart ass.

I admit that ramps aren’t the most baby or toddler friendly ingredient, but there’s certainly no reason not to offer this dish to your ChowBaby. Just don’t be surprised if they don’t love it at first. Ramps have an (irresistibly) pungent smell and flavor. If little ones decline, just think: more for you! You can boost nutrition in this dish by adding some fresh asparagus or zucchini (saute with the ramps). And, when you can’t find ramps the other 45 weeks of the year, use leeks. Not quite the same, but still tasty.

Whole Wheat Angel Hair with Ramps and Creamy Parmesan
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)

1 box organic, whole wheat angel hair pasta
3 bunches organic ramps, cleaned
1 tbsp organic butter
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1/2 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine (optional; increase broth by a 1/4 cup if you skip the boozy stuff)
1 1/2 cups organic parmesan, grated
1 organic egg, whisked
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water (you may not use the entire amt)

1. Put a large pot of salted water on medium-high heat (about 6 qts water to 2 tbsp salt). Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, drain, saving 1 cup cooking water. Set pasta aside.

2. While pasta cooks, prep the ramps. Start by trimming off the roots. Then cut the white part (bulb) off—keep this whole, no need to chop. Chop remaining stalk and leaf into 2 to 2 1/2″ pieces. Larger leaves can be split lengthwise before you chop your 2 to 2 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.

3. Heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Just when they start to sizzle, add ramps. Saute for a minute or two until the bulbs begin to soften and leaves turn bright green. Add broth and wine. Cook until ramps are tender and liquid just starts to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.

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4. Add about 3/4 of the cooked pasta (the sauce only makes enough for this amt–save the remaining pasta for another dish!) to the ramps. Toss until pasta is thoroughly coated and warmed through. Add egg and cheese, followed by reserved cooking water, which you should add little by little. (If your water is still hot, use it to temper the egg before adding either to the pasta and ramps). Toss as you add water—you have enough when the eggs and cheese form a creamy sauce that coats all of the pasta. Keep on heat until pasta is warmed through.

PS: The pasta looked delicious, but I thought pics of the ramps were the real star here. Plus, I need daylight for good photos and let’s just say that ChowPapa didn’t read my whole spiel about leftovers in yesterday’s post. Not a single bite left!

11 Responses

  1. rebecca says:

    really, whole wheat pasta with ramps? seems like sacrilege, but i’ll trust and give it a go. Did you get them at our FM last sat?

  2. stacie says:

    isn’t whole wheat pasta sacrilege, period. LOL. to be honest, it’s what we had on hand. i think this would be better with regular pasta. (as much as i’ve turned the corner on WW, truth be told, i think all pasta dishes are better with regular, semolina pasta.) BUT, mike–who’s on a health kick–said that he liked this recipe as is. would have me make it again, just like this. go figure!

    i think it’s worth trying. maybe use a spritz of lemon juice to brighten if this ends up feeling too earthy to you. i didn’t feel the need to do that, though. let me know what you think.

    and, yes, they were from our FM! can’t wait for it to start filling up with even more fruits and veggies!

  3. rebecca says:

    OMG!!! Made it tonight, yumtown! Only used two bunches o’ ramps and it was still great. Next time i’ll bite the bullet and try it with WW pasta.

  4. stacie says:

    So glad it came out well! I never know when ramps will disappear (prob an easy thing to figure out, though i never bother… i like the surprise of them showing up and then, suddenly, being gone). Anyway, glad you found ramps at the market this weekend.

  5. kate says:

    This was one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had in a long time and a waste of some really lovely ramps. The flavors had potential, but the proportions seemed all off.

  6. stacie says:

    Kate: Sorry to hear it. Not sure what’s off since this came out nicely for me and, it seems, also for Rebecca. Although, Rebecca did use regular pasta. I used WW, but there is a LOT of variation in WW pasta. Some have a much stronger/nuttier (and, frankly, sometimes a more cardboard-y) taste than others. Wondering if that could be it. Not that I’m trying to pin it on your pasta (lol), but a bad WW pasta can truly throw a dish off either by lending a bad overall taste or flavor too strong for the other ingredients to stand up to (which might make it seem like the proportions were off). Not usually a fan of WW pasta, I tried it this time specifically b/c I thought ramps could stand up to the strong earthy flavor.

    Anyway, please let me know if you have any suggestions. And, I’ll just have to make this again. My husband was relieved to hear that I had reason for a re-do since he loved it the first time around!

  7. stacie says:

    Hi all! Been corresponding with Kate offline (we started the convo here–check out comments 5 & 6) and I think we’ve figured a few things out.

    First off, Kate added the whole box of pasta. My bad! I wasn’t clear in the original post that you were to add 3/4 of the cooked pasta and save the remaining 1/4 for leftovers/another dish. I amended the post to be more clear.

    Also, Kate believes that the recipe used too much pasta water. I have not changed the amt called for in the recipe b/c it works for me and I know there can be a lot of variation on this point (depending on the type of pasta you are using, how cooked it is, etc). I have changed the post, though, to suggest that you add the pasta water slowly, little by little.

    Lastly, my pasta water had been sitting aside. It was not very hot when I added it to the pasta, so there was no risk of curdling the eggs. If you are adding the water when it is still hot, use Kate’s idea: add the pasta water last and temper the egg a bit before you do.

    Hope this helps make the delicious meal me and my family (and Rebecca’s!) got the chance to enjoy.

  8. [...] are magical. They can turn parmesan into a rich sauce (like in our Whole Wheat Pasta with Ramps and Creamy Parmesan), turn milk and stale bread (or muffins) into a fluffy pudding (try our Banana Date Bread Pudding), [...]

  9. [...] MAY 18TH! Didn’t I post a glorious photo of radishes? Wasn’t I just cooking with ramps? It is Spring, still, [...]

  10. [...] You sense correctly. I’m hesitant to post ramp recipes. Always have been. And though I’m completely aware that this may seem (okay, is) totally random, I just [...]

  11. Fidel says:

    We tried this last week and it was relaly good…pretty much exactly as you suggested but subbing some whole wheat shell pasta that we already had in the pantry! Thanks for giving such a simple yet tasty recipe…it relaly kicked off our own local produce explorations for the spring!

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