There's a reason why foodies are so fanatical about ramps; the wild leeks are the first sure sign that Spring has arrived, especially in areas home to a long Winter. But be aware of their short season: the minute ramps arrive, the window on their availability is already beginning to close.
If you're not deterred by garlicky breath, uncooked ramps have a pungency that adds punch to homemade pesto. Or, enjoy them in a mellower state, as I like to do, by sauteing their stalks and greens until translucent, and slowly melding their sweetness into a rich, creamy risotto. The recipe, when you continue reading.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, ﬁnely chopped
Pinch of red-pepper ﬂakes
1 cup Vialone nano rice (Conant recommends Campanini brand)
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
4 cups chicken broth, simmering in separate pot on stove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Kosher salt to taste
If you can't locate vialone nano rice, try another risotto variety, such as arborio or carnaroli.
- In a wide, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Finely chop ramp greens and stalks, reserving greens for later. Add shallot, ramp stalks, and pepper ﬂakes, and stir until the shallot is translucent, about two minutes. Add rice to pot and cook over medium heat for two minutes, stirring to coat rice with oil.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of the wine and boil until almost absorbed; a little liquid should remain on top of the rice. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot broth at a time, stirring the rice constantly until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1/4 cup of stock, the remaining wine, and a tablespoon of olive oil, continuing to stir.
- Add the ramp greens and more stock as needed and continue cooking and stirring until the risotto looks creamy but is still al dente, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let the risotto stand for about 30 seconds. Add a drizzle of olive oil, butter, and cheese; stir until well combined. Season with salt, and serve immediately.
Makes four first-course portions, or two regular-sized portions.
- Rice, Main Dishes