It is ramp season here in New England and, with a brief break in the wet weather, we took a walk in the woods and found an abundance of wild ramps. Sometimes called the wild leek, this is a great delicacy that only appears for a few weeks each year. If you think you have found ramps then try to dig them up with the root. A simple smell, which will be a pungent garlic, will give them away immediately. Don’t be intimidated by their odor in the raw, and trust us as once cooked they have a delicious sweet taste with just an undertone of garlic.
When you get your ramps home we would advise cleaning and at least blanching immediately so that the smell does not become overpowering.
Wash each ramp well then cut off the root close to the base and remove any of the outside skin that easily pulls away.
Now at this stage you can just blanch the whole thing in salted water and serve ….our kids love them this way. We used the root for pickling (another blog) and the young leaf shoot to flavor some pasta.
Blanch a good handful of ramp leaves in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes then refresh in an ice bath. Place in a food mixer with a pinch of salt, 1 cup of flour, one egg yolk and a splash of olive oil. Then wiz until it is combined as a dough. You may need to add a little more flour or a splash more olive oil to get the right consistency.
Wrap the pasta in plastic wrap then rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Once rested, roll out the pasta.
Fold the sheets and then cut into linguini.
While a large pot of salted water comes to a boil crisp up some pancetta. Set aside.
We wanted a light pesto like dressing for this lunchtime dish so we mixed Tin mustard with a little white wine vinegar, olive oil and parmesan. We absolutely love the texture of the tin mustard…particularly the little caviar like pop it gives in the mouth as you eat it.
Now all that’s left is to eat this wonderful spring pasta. The very subtle flavor of the ramps enhanced the delicate pasta and will probably warrant another trip out into the woods to gather some more ramps before the week is out so that we can make and freeze some of this lovely dough.