Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Handmade spaghetti with ramps

Signs of spring have finally begun to show up in the local grocery stores. The other week, I bought a bunch of English peas at the market, and yesterday, the market had a bunch of ramps.
Ramps with spaghetti is a pretty classic combination, and I think that they go especially well with fresh pasta.
RECIPE (2 servings):
1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 bunches of ramps (about 16)
1-2 strips bacon (optional)
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan cheese

Form the flour into a mound and create a well in the middle. Add the eggs to the well along with a pinch of salt. You can also add some pepper at this stage if you like. Beat the eggs, slowly incorporating the flour. Knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep adding flour if the dough feels too wet. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes. After resting, roll out the pasta and cut it to the desired width.

While the pasta is resting, bring a large pot of water to boil and add a generous amount of salt. Rinse the ramps thoroughly, and cut them in half crosswise to separate the leaves from the bulbs. Cut the root ends off of the bulbs and wipe off the outer layer of skin on the bulbs. When the water has reached a rapid boil, blanch the root ends until tender (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then let drain in a colander. Blanch the leaves for about 30 seconds, place in an ice bath and drain.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon. When the bacon is crisp, remove and drain on paper towels and then crumble into small bits. Remove any excess fat, leaving 1/2 to 1 tablespoon in the pan.

For the final step, you need to do a couple things really quickly. You don't want to over cook anything, so pay attention to timing here. Make sure the pasta is at a very rapid boil, and add the pasta. Next, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and saute for about 30 seconds over medium high heat. Add the ramps and the crumbled bacon, and saute over high heat for about two minutes, tossing frequently. After the pasta has been cooking for two to three minutes, it will be done. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water, then add the cooked pasta to the saute pan, and toss thoroughly along with about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese and pepper. Add a bit of pasta water if the mixture looks to dry, and keep tossing the mixture until everything is well incorporated. Serve immediately.

No comments: