Ramp season is fleeting so if you see these little wild alliums at your local farmers market, take advantage. They have a garlicy onion flavor but are distinctly bright and springy. I knew I wanted to turn these tender babies into a pesto. I was tossing my pesto with a pasta dish and wanted to fill it up with other vegetables. I had some leftover broccoli, but I immediately turned to ramp’s cousin, leeks. It all paried very nicely together.
For the pasta part, saute your veggies in a pan with salt until they’ve softened. I used broccoli and leeks. HOT TIP: Peas would work well here. Then cook up your pasta – I used fusilli and think a curly pasta like that works particularly well with a chunky pesto. Now for the sauce itself. Blanch the ramp leaves (about 1 minute in boiling water) – this is not necessary but will help keep the sauce a gorgeous bright green – and then dry them, roughly chop them, and add them to a food processor. Also to the food processor add the chopped ramp bulbs, a handful of raw pistachios, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Puree til it reaches the desired consistency, adding oil as needed. I didn’t use any measurements and just played with the oil and cheese until the flavors and texture felt nice and balanced. Toss the pesto with the pasta and veggies, sprinkle on some salt, and top with more parm.
For the next two days, I spooned the pesto over just about anything I had: rice, summer squash, chicken…it works with just about anything. I think it’s because there’s something special about homemade pesto. There’s also something special about ramps so take advantage!