Ramps? If you are one of those “food foragers” you would certainly be able to answer this question and maybe even tell someone like me where to find them? I did my “big shopping” on sunday at my favorite local (ish – 20 miles away!) supermarket, and, as always had to hold back on buying food for an army. There are so many things there that I want to try, but, I would end up spending an absolute fortune and have nowhere to store it all! However I was in the vegetable section and there they were, all piled up in great bundles – ramps! I had to have some and at a whopping $13 per lb I bought a meager 1/4 lb and was content.
Ramps are a very pungent wild leek. They look a little like a scallion only can take on a purplish hue and the leaves look like miniature papery tulip leaves. If you use them raw it is best to do so sparingly. In the spring they grow wild in forest-like areas. They are most definitely a food known to more industrious people whose means drive them to the fields to supplement their diet. At least that was the case not so long ago? Nowadays, they are sold as a delicacy, (like the way cardoons have now found themselves onto the meus of 3 star Michelin restaurants!).
If you can find them you should give them a try. I used a little bundle last night with the squid and seasoned sausage I bought yesterday and it upped the flavor enormously. I put them into the dish like they were onions and the taste mellowed and sweetened. I still have enough left for 2 more recipes so watch out for more ways to cook ramps!
You will Need; 1 lb squid tentacles, 1/2 lb seasoned sausage (I used seasoned apple & onion sausage), 10 ramps, sliced, including leaves, 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube, 1 tbs cold unsalted butter, freshly ground black pepper, lemon wedges and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish, 3/4 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla brand)
1 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute ramps and garlic for 2 minutes.
2 – Take sausage out of casing and break off small pieces into pan and saute for 5 minutes. Stir and break up meat occasionally.
3 – Add squid, wine, 1/2 bouillon cube and parsley. cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
4 – While squid is cooking put on water for pasta. When it boil add 1 tsp salt and cook pasta according to instructions.
5 – When squid is tender, right before you add the pasta, add the butter and swirl into liquid. Immediately toss the cooked hot spaghetti into the sauce and stir. Add spinach leaves and leave to wilt (about 2 minutes)
Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano and a lemon wedge. Season with freshly ground black pepper if you like.