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Ramp Pesto

Spring is here!  I know, I know– it was official a while back.  But, it’s really official now because ramps have arrived! I look forward to ramp season every year– so much so that my husband eventually ridicules how often I mention “ramps.”  Unfortunately, they’re not available for long, which forces me to fit as many ramp recipes as I can into a brief amount of time.

For the uninitiated, a ramp is actually a wild leek.  Their flavor most closely resembles a cross between a green onion and garlic.  While this makes them versatile, I really love allowing their unique flavor to take center stage.  This pesto does just that.  The wonderful garlic notes from the ramps blend well with the parsley and parmesan without overpowering them.  And ramps and eggs are a heavenly match, whether scrambled (with chopped ramps) or poached, as in this version of Eggs Benedict.

There are many ways to get the most out of this pesto.  It’s a fantastic sauce for pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan, add it as a topping to a rich risotto, or spread some on a toasted baguette with roasted tomatoes.  As the ramp season is so short, you can make extra pesto and freeze it– it keeps well.  Then, when tomatoes peak later this summer, you can bring some out and really get the best of this combination.  I can’t wait!

The Recipe:  Ramp Pesto

1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces

1 cup Italian parsley (packed, then loosely chopped)

1 bunch ramps, (white and red parts only), chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

Begin by toasting the walnuts in a small frying pan for a couple of minutes until they become aromatic.  Stirring and being very careful not to burn them.   They don’t need to be fully toasted, just enough to bring out their nutty flavor.  Remove from pan, and set aside.

Next, in a small food processor, combine the ramps, parsley, walnuts, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper.  Pulse the mixture for a few seconds until it is somewhat mixed.  Turn the food processor on and slowly stream the olive oil through the liquid hole on top of the lid.  When the pesto looks homogeneous, after a minute or two, turn off the machine and  adjust seasonings, if necessary.  The pesto will keep covered in the refrigerator for around 3 days.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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