Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spaghetti with Ramps

Yes, another ramp recipe. Sadly, ramp season is virtually over and I have just a couple more recipes to share before they're completely unavailable. I hate to go against the wisdom of Mario Batali, but I had to adapt his recipe to accommodate my deep love of ramps. Half a pound of ramps to a whole pound of spaghetti is a decidedly unsatisfying ratio for me, so I cut back on the pasta and increased the amount ramps to savor their delicious flavor in every bite. Since even my good olive oil probably doesn't compare to what Mario Batali has in his kitchen, I cut back on the olive oil and added a bit of butter, although if you've got some really extraordinary olive oil I encourage you to use it here unadulterated. The simple combination of nutty whole wheat spaghetti, rich butter and olive oil, spicy chili flakes, and savory cheese is the perfect canvas to allow the unique taste of ramps to shine.

With my favorite ingredients the simplest recipes are often the best, and this recipe follows that formula. Although there isn't anything out there than can quite compare to ramps in my mind, leeks, spring onions, or green garlic can often be substituted with great success. Use this recipe to indulge in some of spring's best produce before summer arrives and put a delicious, healthy meal on your dinner table in short order.

Spaghetti with Ramps
adapted from Babbo
serves 4

12 ounces dry whole wheat spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh ramps, greens and root ends separated and thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons red chili flakes
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook according to the package direction, until tender but still al dente, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a 12-14 inch sauté pan over medium high heat. Add root ends of ramps to the pan and sauté until tender. Add salt and chilli flakes. At the very end, add the greens and sauté until wilted. Drain pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Toss gently to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding pasta water if necessary to help coat the pasta.

3. Divide pasta evenly among four warmed plates. Drizzle additional olive oil over top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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