Ramps: Those tender wild onions, shot with pink and flopping over every table at the spring farmers' markets. They are a symbol of spring cooking — but what do you do with them? I often pass them by, glad for their symbolic welcome to spring, but happier with heartier leeks and onions. Well, this spring I decided to really open my arms to ramps — and I remembered that the simplest ways are often the best. Here's perhaps the easiest, tastiest way to enjoy ramps: Spaghetti pan-fried until golden with tender ramps and fragrant mint.
This recipe is so simple — inspired by other recipes from people like Martha Stewart and Mario Batali, it leans on the ramps and their onion-y flavor to really permeate the pasta. I cook the ramps together with the warming pasta, and it helps the pasta get a little golden and pan-fried, and it infuses it with the ramp flavor.
It's barely a recipe; it does lean on your own sense of timing and feeling of when the pasta is hot and cooked through, and when the ramps are soft and wilted. It's a fast dish too — it just takes a few moments to sauté.
Spaghetti Pan-Fried with Ramps & Mint
serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main
1/2 pound dried spaghetti Olive oil 8 ounces fresh ramps 1 small bunch mint, about 1 ounce 1/4 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to serve Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta until barely al dente. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside. (I also like to use leftover pasta for this kind of recipe; just refrigerate with a little bit of olive oil to keep it soft then pull it out and use it cold for this recipe.)
Clean the ramps and separate them into green tops and white bottoms. Finely slice the green tops and set them aside. Cut the white parts into thin round slices. Finely slice the mint leaves as well, discarding the stems.
Heat a large (10-inch or larger across) sauté pan over high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and just as it begins to smoke add the cooked pasta. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, and watch for some browning of the pasta. After about 2 minutes, throw in the white parts of the ramps and cook, stirring frequently, for another 2 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Add the white wine; it will immediately bubble up and nearly evaporate. Stir in the Parmesan until completely incorporated, then add the green parts of the ramps. Cook for 1 more minute, or until the ramps have wilted. Add the mint and immediately turn off the heat. Stir just until the mint has begun to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with extra Parmesan, if desired.