Wild Ramp Pesto
Wild Ramp Pesto: Fiery and bright, ramp pesto will surprise you in a couple of ways; it’s creamier than you may expect, and despite it being made from wild ramps it offers a lovely mild sweetness. For a variation I use black walnuts instead of pine nuts for a woodsier flavor. I add some salt to balance and heighten the other flavors, and the juice of half a lemon. This pesto can be served as an appetizer on some toasted bread or folded onto some pasta maybe with some slow cooked pork belly.
10 – 12 ramps roughly chopped (early season ramps are smaller, so use more)
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C toasted pine nuts
½ cup grated reggiano parmesan
1/2 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Wash, chop and dry ramps. I often blanche the ramp leaves in boiling water for about 60 seconds and then shock them in cold water. This makes the pesto more bright and vibrant.
Add nuts, parmesan, salt, pepper and ramps to food processor. Pour the olive oil in slowly, and process contents until they look grainy. You do not want big chunks remaining, but there should still be some texture to the pesto (don’t puree it).
If serving on pasta, boil the pasta according to the package directions in salted water until just al dente. Drain, but reserve a little of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the pesto. Toss to coat evenly, adding pasta water as needed if it starts sticking together. Garnish with parmesan and lemon slices.
Wild Ramp Pesto by Chef David Darugh
Learn about Wild Foods Cooking at Beechwood Inn