Hi everyone! I wanted to post this ramp recipe quickly before ramps are gone forever (or at least for this year)…actually, I think I’m too late. Oops. Humor me and keep reading.
Ramps–also called wild leeks–have a strong garlicky flavor. Chefs and the internet in general freak out about them every spring, so I obviously had to try them. The problem is that I could never find them…that was, until this year. I went to the farm store to pick up some other vegetables, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw them. It was glorious! I felt a lot of pressure to make something really epic out of these ramps, and in the end, I was pretty happy with myself.
This recipe is actually very easy to make. If you’d like to “make it your own”, by all means, go ahead–you can omit things, add things, do whatever you’d like. I don’t think it would be easy to ruin.
If ramp season is over, never fear: garlic scape season is starting, and I’m sure you could substitute them for the ramp stems (and omit the greens) in this recipe.
Spaghetti with Ramps, Pancetta, and Meyer Lemon Zest
- 1 oz pancetta diced
- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- About 1/4 lb 10 ramps, washed well
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon can substitute regular lemon
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs recipe to make fresh breadcrumbs is below
- A few sprigs of parsley to garnish optional
- Parmesan cheese optional
- Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it comes to a boil, add salt (should taste salty like the sea), and spaghetti. Cook according to package directions, about 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through (about 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, keeping drippings in the pan.
Cut the green tops off of the stems of the ramps, and set tops aside. Take the stems, and slice off the root at the bottom. Then slice the remainder of the stem thinly. Wash again to make sure there's no dirt, dry, and then add to the pan of pancetta drippings, stirring occasionally. When ramps have cooked through, add the green tops, then turn down to very low just to keep warm, if pasta is not done.
When spaghetti is done, drain and then add it to the saute pan with the ramps.
Add the lemon zest, pancetta, olive oil, and toss with tongs to mix evenly. You can add more olive oil if desired.
Serve two equal portions. Top each with half of the breadcrumbs, a sprig of parsley, and parmesan (if desired).
Recipe for breadcrumbs:
About 1 tbsp olive oil (alternatively, you can use the pancetta drippings)
Approximately 3 inch piece of day-old french bread, broken into chunks
Put the pieces of bread in a food processor, and pulse until crumbled. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, and then add the breadcrumbs. Stir frequently until browned on all sides, and then remove from heat. Salt to taste.