Ramps and Green Garlic and Pasta, Oh My!

The word on the street is: “Ramps.” “It’s ramp season,” people will say. “You better buy them now: they don’t last long.”

So on this obviously bountiful trip to the farmer’s market (see two posts below this), I couldn’t ignore the several stands selling ramps to innocent bystanders like me. I chose a bunch with large bulbs and then saw, next to the ramps, another crate filled with green garlic. A bell went off in my head: the Chez Panisse cookbook is filled with references to green garlic. So I bought some of that too. Here are the ramps and green garlic relaxing in my kitchen:


Ramps, I have learned, are leek like oniony bulbs that make in appearance in early spring. Green garlic is garlic in its early stage and Alice Waters goes nuts for it. “I go nuts for it!” she probably says in the Chez Panisse introduction. “Me loves me some green garlic.”

Another blog (which I found, I believe, by clicking comments–so this was a frequent commenter’s blog) had a recipe for a pasta with ramps. I interpreted it my way and filled a saute pan with olive oil, heated it up, and then added sliced ramps and green garlic and some crushed red pepper:


When the ramps were cooked through, I tossed in fresh cooked spaghetti that was still al dente (Mario Batali says it should be “just before done” when you add it to the condiment):


I tossed it all through and then added the ramp leaves which I cut just a bit. They wilted like spinach as this source blogger said they would.

Served on a plate using the method I learned from Lydia Bastianich (see: cooking shows on television make TV-watching worthwhile) of twisting the pasta around with your tongs so it makes something of a bird’s nest. I grated lots of parmesan on top and here it is for you to soak in with your eyes:


A seasonal spring dish that would make any average person sing the praises of ramps and green garlic. They gave a nice crunch and a nice subtle flavor to the end product. I knew I’d done well because the condiment didn’t overwhelm the pasta–as Mario says: “The spaghetti is the star of the dish.” (He compares saucing a pasta to putting mustard on a hot dog: you’d never put more mustard than there was hot dog, would you? So you shouldn’t put more sauce than there is pasta.)

If anyone out there has other favorite uses for ramps and green garlic, let me know! I wanna get rampy with it.

18 thoughts on “Ramps and Green Garlic and Pasta, Oh My!”

  1. wow, the ramps you got have huge bulbs, I guess mine were just really young cause the bulbs on mine were barely bigger than on a scallion. I actually pickled the ramps I bought, but still have yet to taste them, I used 2 different recipes, one from David Chang of Momofuku and the other from Tom Collicho (but I cant find that one right now)

    Pickled Ramps (momofuku)

    Pickling Brine:

    2 cups granulated sugar

    2 cups rice wine vinegar

    2 cups water

    1/4 cup kosher salt

    1/4 cup Japanese Seven Spice (Shichimi Togarashi)

    2 tablespoons Korean crushed red pepper (kochukaru) or other mild crushed pepper

    I’ll let you know how they end up when I pop open the mason jars.

  2. Your blog is my new favorite site. I’m obsessed with it.

    You write better than Martha Stewart bakes cookies. Uh huh.

  3. The pasta especially looks great with all that parmesan grated on top! I just sprinkle a little bit on my pasta because thoughts of how I shouldn’t eat too much cheese quash my cheese sprinkling. But next time, I’ll follow your example and put lots of cheese on the pasta! (and cut down on the sauce, I’m guilty of oversaucing. :)

  4. You are lucky to live in an area where ramsp are available locally. I have to buy mine from Earthy Delights via the web. It is one of my springtime induglences. Ramps also go well with eggs. Take the green leaves and use them to make a ramp pesto. And, with that, you really can have green eggs and ham.

  5. Check out foodienyc.com’s blog. He has some great ramp recipes along with some for morels (used his basic morel recipe – really good).

  6. I love reading your blog. You have great ideas! I have tried Crème fraîche a few times, but am not able to find it in my area … so disappointing, but I do appreciate you letting me know how to pronouonce it .. I won’t feel so foolish next time I try to ask for it!

  7. RedNeckFoodie

    Gosh, ramps are really powerful! Here in the backwoods region, we put them in ‘soup beans’ and fried ‘taters. If you work out in the local fitness center the next morning, try to pick the treadmill up-wind. You will reek of down home ramp perfume!

  8. Great Job on the blog. I read some of your restaurant reviews before I went to New York last week and they were helpful and insightful.

    Also – I saw ramps on menus everywhere last week. The best were at Esca. Have you been? It’s great! Crisy skate and braised leeks and ramps. Yum. and the BEST service we had all week.

    also – I read Amanda Hesser’s book when it first came out a couple of years ago. Loved it! You reminded me about it talking about creme fraiche, and I just might have to re-read it now. Thanks!

  9. I am new to the food blogging thing and just recently discovered your prose. You blog is quickly becoming another way for me to procrastinate(I am in a grad class at this very moment)…

    Anyway, ramps are a great way to snob up a pizza. Prepare the same way you did for your pasta toss, and add a dash of cumin and a sprinkle of coriander. Cook up some mild italian sausage and drain fat. Heat a fry pan to medium high, drop in a flour tortilla and use the ramps and oil for your base, top with a little cooked sausage and your favorite parmesan cheese. Hope you like it, Jonathan

  10. I just got some ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket and enjoyed them simply mixed in to my scrambled eggs. With salt and pepper, they were fantastic. I was surprised that Ramps have such a strong scent, but are rather mellow once cooked.

  11. that looks so delicious! it’s really great that you cook so much and i enjoy reading your posts. it kinda inspires me to be less lazy. :) ok, i’m going grocery shopping now!

  12. Those ramps look a lot like calçots. They’re big over here in Catalunya (Spain) in the spring. We eat them at “calçotadas”, parties where the calçots are grilled over charcoal and served with Salsa Romesco, which is a mix of dried peppers, olive oil, almonds, bread and a roasted tomato. It’s yummy!

  13. I agree with VF on ramps and eggs.

    A dish for a simple supper:

    2 eggs

    1 tbs cream

    1 tbs butter

    1-2 ramps

    salt and pepper

    Trim root end and stems off ramp.

    Chop white part

    Chop leafy part

    mix eggs, leafy parts of ramps, cream, salt and pepper.

    Put non-stick pan over medium heat. Add butter. When foamy, add white parts of ramps. Saute for 20-30 seconds and add egg mixture. Gently shake pan and stir eggs. When set but not dry remove eggs to plate. Allow to rest for a minute or two and serve.

  14. Conny Nichols

    On ramps! Heavenly tasty gifts of the gods they are. Try my recipe, you are guaranteed to love it. Stuffed Pompano en croute with ramps:


    * 4 Pompano filets, sliced open on the side to create a pocket

    * 2 to 3 finely chopped ramps (bulbs & greens)

    * 1 cup steamed & drained spinach chopped

    * 2 cups ricotta cheese

    * freshly ground white pepper

    * kosher sea salt to taste

    * filo pastry (2 to 3 sheets per fillet)

    * mixture of olive oil and butter to brush filo sheets and the wrapped fillets before they go into the oven


    Chop ramps, spinach; add ricotta, salt, pepper and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Take enough ricotta mixture to stuff each previously salted fillet of Pompano. Close fillet and carefully wrap in filo. Brush butter/oil mixture on top and place on an oiled cookie sheet to bake at 375ºF for 30 minutes. Serve immediately and garnish as you please. Enjoy and feel free to let me know if you liked it. Good eats!


  15. Just finished cleaning, pickling and canning 10lbs. of ramps using a recipe based on Tom Colichio’s. Made 18 pints so I have plenty til next year. Have tons of leaves which I have frozen and some I’ve kept for the week fresh.

    The pickling liquid is sweet with white wine vinegar (1 cup), sugar (1 cup), fennel (2 tsps), pink peppercorns (1 tsp), mustard seeds (1 tsp), coriander (1 tsp) and bay leaves (3). I put a bay leaf in each jar and process for 15 minutes.

    The pickled ramps are great on their own and also make the best tartar sauce or garnish on sandwiches.

    Try it.

  16. We can dig them here by the shovels full. We take a five gallon bucket. The way I love ramps is to butter up some home made bread,,,,,,,Lots of Butter ,,,now salt and lots of pepper.put those babys in there on that bread and yummo-they are also great with horesraddish cheese or pepper jack.

    Just srip the skins down pinch off the root and youv’e got it.No need to wash rhem,just a little dirt, wipe it iff on your pant leg——- Come home and offer mama a great big old kiss.

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