Here in New York’s Hudson River Valley (and maybe in your neck o’ the woods, too), ramps are in season. To celebrate, I sauteed these rock stars of spring in olive oil and red pepper flakes, and tossed them into some al dente linguine. Here’s the recipe for this super-fast main course, along with the answer to your burning question: “What the heck are ramps?”
Ramps, or “ramp” is the common name for Allium tricoccum. It grows wild in wooded areas, but it is also farmed by a few environmentally-conscious commercial growers. The plant’s bright green leaves, burgundy stem, and small white bulb are all edible. They taste like a delicious cross between a garlic clove and an onion bulb.
Now, because of tricoccum’s short, 6-week growing season, and also because of its unique taste, the plant is sometimes over-foraged by home cooks and restaurant chefs. I purchased my ramps from a local farmers’ market that cultivates them. But ramps are generally available throughout the Northeast, the Midwest, and even in California at farmers’ markets. Seek them out, okay?
Let’s make our Linguine with Ramps and Asiago!
Now heat 3 tablespoons of good olive oil in a large frying pan or electric skillet (I love and use this one)…
Oh. We cooked the bulbs and stems first, simply because they are tougher than the leaves.
At this point, you can plate the pasta, and spoon the sauteed ramps on top. Or, you can do what I prefer to do…
And toss the linguine and ramps together in the skillet. Add a little more olive oil, too, just to make the pasta slick. And be sure to taste carefully for seasonings. You might like to add more salt and/or red pepper flakes.
Ah…al dente linguine…precious, garlicky-onion-y ramps…fiery red pepper flakes and salty Asiago cheese…there’s nothing about this dish that isn’t sexy, seasonal, and sumptuous. Enjoy it with a bottle of chilled Sancerre.
Do you get ramped-up when ramp season is here? Or have you never encountered the plant? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
Meanwhile, here’s the printable:
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