April 30th, 2009
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.
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!