Ramp Risotto and the Essence of Spring

I know that ramp season has past but I honestly thought that I had posted about this already. It was only when I investigated, trying to find the recipe I used to make a spinach version, that I found I hadn’t actually typed it up.

Apologizes. But now you will be ready for ramps next year! This was my first experience with ramps, brought to our house by a friend with a talent for foraging. Because he wanted to preserve the sites he forages from, he only brought the leaves and not the bulbs. This made finding a recipe rather difficult but I think why creation can be adapted either way.

Here’s what I know about ramps: they are a spring green which grows in the wild, they (like rhubarb) are absurdly expensive to buy in stores, and they should be wilted rather than stewed. At first a wilted ramp salad with bacon, bacon fat, and vinegar seemed in order but I was concerned the flavors would be too potent.

I instead chose to exchange ramps and Parmesan for the saffron and Parmesan in a traditional risotto alla Milanese. I made a normal risotto, with Carnaroli rice, vegetable broth, and time. At the end, I beat in the grated Parmesan and butter. Finally, just before serving, I folded in the roughly chopped ramp leaves. The gentle, grassy, onion-y flavor permeated nicely through the risotto. It was a real treat.

Parmesan Risotto with Ramps
serves 4

4 c broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c white wine
2 c Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp butter
3 c ramps, roughly chopped

Heat broth in a kettle to a simmer and keep hot over low heat.
Place olive oil and onion to a large, wide pot. Sauté  until onions have become soft and translucent. Add rice and toast briefly.
Add wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Lower heat to medium. Begin to add broth until rice is covered slightly. Stir once and then allow to cook until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add more liquid, stir, and cook. Repeat for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.
Once the rice becomes creamy, taste a few grains of rice. The rice should be tender but not hard or crunchy. Continue cooking and adding liquid until it achieves the correct texture. Beat in Parmesan cheese and butter. Taste and add additional cheese as necessary. Fold ramps into hot risotto. Serve immediately!
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Filed under Italian, Rice & Grains

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