I first read about ramps in Bon Appetit last spring. I had no idea what they were, but the idea of vegetables and greens unknown intrigues me. It inspires me to try new things.
Last Sunday was the first Baltimore Farmer’s Market of 2010, and I was looking forward to loading up on fresh, local produce. But by the time I rolled in late there was little left, if there had been many vegetables to begin. I guess the season is still pretty early for actual fresh, local produce, so my boyfriend and I managed to grab some fish, beef, and milk before we left. The lack of vegetables though was a gap we had to fill, so we made a beeline for Whole Foods and there, for the first time, I saw a table full of fresh ramps. While they were on the pricey side ($12.99/lb!) I had to give them a try, to see how different they were from spring onions or leeks or garlic or whatever.
A quick search of Epicurious brought me to a recipe for ramp risotto with Italian sausage. Since I actually had all of these ingredients in my kitchen, it kind of sealed the deal that this was going to be part of dinner that night.
Adapted from this recipe:
Ramp Risotto with Italian Sausage
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 1/2 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 12 ramps, trimmed; bulbs and slender stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups (or more) chicken broth
- freshly grated Parmesan and/or Peccorino cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add crumbled sausage. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up with spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Add sliced ramp bulbs and stems. Saute until almost tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add rice and stir 1 minute.
- Add white wine. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, simmering until almost absorbed before next addition and stirring often.
- Continue cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, adding more broth if dry and stirring often, about 18 minutes. Mix in green tops of the ramps.
- Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, adding grated cheese separately.