It's that time of year again: when ramps are popping up at local farmers' markets. And we couldn't be more excited. These spicy spring alliums are great in just about everything, though they really shine in this vibrant pesto recipe from Colu Henry's new book, Back Pocket Pasta.
This pesto recipe is built to toss with pasta, but it would also be great served with chicken, dolloped onto pizza or mixed into salad. If you have an abundance of ramps, make a jumbo batch and keep the leftovers in the fridge to have on hand all spring long.
Ramp and Hazelnut Pesto Pasta
Recipe adapted from 'Back Pocket Pasta,' by Colu Henry
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Kosher salt, to taste
4 ounces ramps, leaves separated from the stems and bulbs
12 ounces campanelle pasta
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ramp leaves and blanch until vibrant green, 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leaves to a bowl and run under cold water until cooled, then drain and squeeze out the excess water.
2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10 to 11 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the pesto: In a food processor, combine the ramp stems and bulbs with the hazelnuts and salt, then pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and purée until a smooth pesto forms, then transfer to a large bowl.
4. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid and add both to the bowl of pesto. Toss until the pasta is evenly coated, and season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls, garnish with more grated cheese and olive oil, then serve.