Ramps are only available for a short time each spring, making them one of those foods that marks the season. They have a mild onion-y flavor, which is fresh and bright, capturing perfectly the taste of spring.
I got the idea to make a pesto out of ramps from this recipe on Food 52, but of course I had to change it up a bit. I added some of the whites of the ramps, which pack a punch. Tasting a sliver raw reminded me of tasting a raw garlic clove. Because traditional basil pesto usually includes garlic, I thought that adding some of them would have the same effect as adding a pungent flavor to the pesto.
I also used pecans instead of walnuts or pine nuts because I made the mistake of looking away while I was holding down the handle on the bulk bin at Whole Foods. $24 later, I began thinking of ways to consume lots of pecans. The combination of the green freshness of the ramps and the sweet nuttiness of the pecans was very tasty.
This pesto would be excellent on pizza or a sandwich, but being the pasta lovers that we are, we had it with pasta. It can be made in the time it takes the pasta to cook. For us, it was the perfect quick meal before heading out to baseball practice. Spring indeed.
Makes approximately 3/4 cup, enough for 1 pound of pasta
20 minutes preparation time
2 cups coarsley chopped and loosley packed ramp leaves (about 1 bunch)
2 teaspoons ramp whites, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pecans
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated parmesan
Put all of the ingredients except the olive oil and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well-incorporated, but still a bit chunky. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil until it is completely incorporated. Add the parmesan and pulse once or twice. Serve with the carb of your choice.