Spring has sprung in the Mid-Ohio Valley and that can only mean one thing, its ramp season! This robust little cousin to the green onion is native to West Virginia and its surrounding areas, and has been adorning our tables for centuries. In fact, April brings several ramp festivals to our great state. Ramps are so plentiful in this area, I would venture to say many of you could easily walk out into your back yard and harvest them yourself. However, if you’re not that adventurous, just head on over to West Virginia Foods and Things store located in the Point Park Marketplace, and pick some up.
One of the first questions people ask me about ramps is; “How do you make them?” It’s honestly as simple as sautéing them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper. They are packed full of flavor and do not require a lot of fuss. But, where’s the fun in that? So, for this article I decided to dress up this humble field green and transform it into a simple, but delicious Ramp Carbonara. Why carbonara you ask? Well, since ramps are native to our region, and the carbonara dish is affectionately known as “coal miner’s spaghetti,” I thought it was very fitting.
One thing is for sure. This recipe is simple, inexpensive, and I KNOW you are going to love it. I can’t wait to share it with you, so let’s get started.
*Prep Time: 10 min. *Cook Time: 30 min. *Difficulty: Easy *Servings: 4-6
- 1 lb. of Linguini or Spaghetti Pasta
- 1 lb. of Ramps
- 8 strips of Bacon, cut into pieces
- 1 c. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ½ tsp. Chili Flake (optional)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Pepper
- Place a skillet on the stove top and add the bacon pieces.
- Turn the flame to medium/high and let the bacon cook until crisp, rendering the fat in the process.
- While the bacon is cooking bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- While the bacon is cooking, and the water is coming to a boil, you will need to rinse the ramps.
- Peel of the outer membrane around the whites, and trim off the roots.
- Once you have cleaned the ramps, you will remove the white section from the green section & slice them in half.
- Next, cut the greens into the quarters.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the package.
- When the bacon pieces have finished cooking and are crisp. After that, you will want to remove it from the pan and place on a paper towel to the side.
- After that you will want to remove all, but two tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan.
- Add the ramps to the pan and cook until the whites are soft and translucent and the greens have wilted.
- Now return the bacon to the pan and add the chili flakes.
- Reserve one cup of the pasta water then drain the cooked pasta.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan.
- Toss everything together and add the parmesan cheese and the pasta water.
- Add the salt and pepper.
- Bring to simmer and let the water reduce and thicken creating a luscious cheesy sauce. You may need to continue tossing during this process.
- Top with a little more parmesan cheese, serve, and enjoy!