Ramp Pesto

Ramp pesto by Alex Coffman

This recipe is a quick way to use lots of ramps if you’re tired of fried ramps and potatoes or want to make something that will stretch their life. I absolutely love pestos for their flexibility and ease. You can put them on pastas, sandwiches, burgers, grilled cheese, and more. They also keep well in the fridge so you can prolong the life of whatever herb or greens you have around.

While I had experimented with pestos before, I learned how to make “proper” pesto with my Italian friend when visiting her in Rome in 2014. They, of course, have access to the best parm cheese, the beautiful basil, high quality olive oil, and good pine nuts. It was amazing to make pesto with a native and I try to keep that educational session in mind whenever I make pesto.

For this ramp pesto (or really any strong or wild green you may use) I suggest using walnuts over pine nuts. Pine nuts have a beautiful light flavor that will be covered by stronger flavors. Without further ado, here is my (approximated) recipe. I typically eyeball it and add more ingredients as necessary. Taste it and observe the texture as you go until it’s what you want out of a pesto.

WV Ramp Pesto

15-20 ramps, cleaned

4-5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese

A squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 cup of whole or pieced walnuts

Blend together in a food processor until desired consistency. You may need to add additional olive oil as you go until it is a spreadable consistency. Enjoy on pasta, toasted buns of burgers, or a grilled sandwich.

Last tip: if you use it on pasta, make sure to leave a little extra pasta water in the pot for the pesto to mix with for a smoother consistency. Also, use pastas with ridges or curls to ‘grab’ the pesto.

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