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Ramp Pesto

I might have gotten a bit overly excited last week about the arrival of Ramps in the Greenmarket, but I don’ t think that I was the only one.  This green-stained table at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s stand is evidence of what the farmer there called a Ramp-age over this seasonal green (o.k. so we had a giggle about this).  By a little bit after 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday of this week, they were clean out of them.  No matter.  I was there buying potatoes anyway, I have plenty of Ramps for this week.  So many, in fact, that I decided to make Ramp Pesto.

Ramp Pesto

Ramps are pretty pungent, so a little bit goes a long way, as I mentioned in the recipe for Sautéed Asparagus and Ramps.  Like a traditional Pesto, this is very green and herbal in taste and texture.  It also has a strong flavor, so it is definitely for the garlic lovers among you.  It is perfect to mix with mashed potatoes, goats cheese, or into eggs for an omelette or fritatta for that punch of garlic-ness.  The flavor does mellow somewhat when you combine with other things, but there’s still plenty of zing left in it to spice up a dish.

Ingredients

Ramp Pesto

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Serving Size:  1/2-2/3 cup pesto

Ingredients:

1/3 c. Walnuts

10 Ramps

1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese

1/3 c. grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Put walnuts in single layer on baking sheet.  Put baking sheet in oven and let cook for 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.  In the meantime, wash ramps, cut off the hairy ends, and remove the filmy outer layer.

Cleaning Ramps

Then, cut off the white end part from the leafy green part of the ramps.  Cut the whites and tough stems into about 1- to 2-inch pieces.  Do the same with the green part.

Cutting up white, stems, and green of ramps

When the walnuts have toasted, remove them from the oven to cool for one minute.  Put the walnuts and the whites and stems of the ramps in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to chop finely.

Walnuts, ramp whites, and ramp stems in food processor

Processed walnuts with ramp greens and whites

Add the Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses and the black pepper and pulse the food processor to combine the ingredients.  The mixture will start to resemble a coarse paste.

Walnuts, cheese, ramps processed

Now add the ramp leaves and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil to the food processor and pulse the ingredients to chop them finely.

Add ramp greens and olive oil

Add another Tbsp of olive oil and continue to process the mixture until it becomes a fine paste.

Ramp Pesto

The result of all this pulsing and chopping is a beautiful lime green colored creation flecked with kelly green pieces of the ramp leaves.  The finished pesto blended perfectly with the mashed potatoes that I made to test it with, giving the potatoes a garlicy lift with a back note of a grassy aroma, sort of like that from running one’s toes through a freshly mowed, damp lawn.

Mashed Potatoes with Ramp Pesto

Buon appetito!