Pasta with Ramps

It’s been two weeks since I last posted?! It’s not from a lack of cooking, but I haven’t made anything new or blog-worthy recently. Ironically, I have spent much more time working on this blog than usual over the last couple of weeks, you just can’t see the results yet: I’m putting together an index of recipes. I also thought I’d spice things up by truncating some of my database tables! Wooo! That wasn’t the first time I’ve had to congratulate myself for backing things up nightly, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Anyway, hopefully I’ll have that up soon if I can manage to do it without destroying everything…again. It’s been interesting categorizing all my recipes; I discovered trends I wasn’t expecting. I apparently cook a lot of Mexican food?

In the meantime, brace yourself for the same old story: Northern Virginia, grrrr! I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN LAST HERE. My office is 10 miles from my house. Sometimes I mention that to someone who does not live in this area and they respond, “oh, so you’re close to work; that must be nice.” I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or punch the person in the face when I hear that. It’s normal for my commute to take an hour. If I’m very, very lucky, it’s 45 minutes. Sometimes, though, it’s even more than an hour. Today it was TWO AND A HALF HOURS. To go 10 miles. It’s the sort of thing that can drive (no pun intended) a person crazy. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I weren’t able to read books on my phone. I read a few hundred (yes a few HUNDRED) pages of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White while sitting in traffic (iPhone pages, yes, but we’re talking about 20% of a rather long book), and it kept me incredibly calm. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I recommend The Woman in White for reading-while-driving, by the way. It’s a peculiar kind of reading that not all types of books are conducive to, but I’m really enjoying this one. (Wodehouse is also good reading-while-driving material. Zola, not so much. By the way, everything I read on my phone is free from Project Gutenberg.)

Anyway, after nearly three hours in traffic, with a headache and cramps, I was tempted to skip the grocery store visit I had planned to make, feeling justified in just wanting to go home and curl up in the fetal position. I rationalized that I’d feel better about life if I managed to accomplish the task I’d set out to do, though, so I forced myself to stop at Wegmans. And I was rewarded with ramps! Rather overpriced ramps, but ramps nonetheless. Pasta with Ramps was sounding like the perfect antidote to my miserable afternoon. It wasn’t until after I’d already written up most of this post, made the dinner, took the photographs, processed the photographs, and then tried to upload the photographs that I realized I posted almost the exact same thing last year. I really should have known this considering I spent several hours this weekend categorizing all my past posts! Anyway, I’m posting this one even if it is a near-duplicate.

This is Mario Batali’s recipe. The internet pretty much agreed it is the best ramp pasta recipe, and it was so simple (and vegan!) I didn’t see reason to mess with it. I did scale it down to two servings, however.

Pasta with Ramps

8 oz dry pasta of your choice
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz fresh ramps
1 tsp – 1 Tbsp red chili flakes, depending on the heat level of your chili flakes and your love of chili flakes
kosher or Maldon flaked salt, to taste
1 Tbsp breadcrumbs

Boil a big pot of water. I don’t always salt the pot when I cook pasta – it depends on what I’m doing with the pasta – but it matters in this dish, so once it’s boiling, add about two tablespoons of salt to the pot, then add the pasta, cook until al dente, then drain.

Wash the ramps very well. They are dirty little things. Line the root ends of a few at a time up and trim them, then repeat for the others.

Line all the ramps up and slice the greens from the white parts.

Chop the white parts.

Roughly chop the green parts.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the white parts of the ramps and saute until soft.

Add the chili flakes and the salt and cook a minute or two.

Add the green parts of the ramps.

Cook, stirring, until they wilt.

Toss in the pasta and stir until coated with the oil and ramps.

Sprinkle with bread crumbs to serve. I served it with some asparagus, which I grilled then drizzled with lemon juice + lemon zest, some smoked Maldon, fresh pepper, and a tiny bit of olive oil. I peeled the asparagus after seeing this survey on The Kitchn and being completely confounded by the very idea of peeling asparagus. (Note: I don’t intend to do it again.)

A final comment about this dish (until I make it again next May and try to post it a third time): LOVE the pasta you choose. I was totally not wild about that kamut and quinoa stuff I used tonight. I love trying alternative grain pastas, but some are better than others, and this just didn’t work well with the ramps. You really need a very pasta-y pasta.

In other news, I finally got to see the Julia Child kitchen display at the Museum of American History. Mark and I occasionally take advantage of our proximity to the nation’s capital and visit some of the Smithsonian museums.

I like Julia Child’s kitchen because it’s totally my style. Which is pretty much hanging stuff everywhere! I will never have a sleek kitchen with all my tools hidden away. For one thing, I have too many tools. And for another, I like them to be accessible. And what’s more, I like LOOKING at them. I couldn’t have worked in Julia’s kitchen because she had all of her counters raised 5″ to accommodate her height, but I love the peg boards and the super homey feel. You want to BE in Julia’s kitchen. People seem to want to be in my kitchen as well. People often tell me they love my kitchen, which I always find weird because it’s a rental house and basically I’m just making do with what I have. But then again, my kitchen IS about as awesome as a rental kitchen can be, mostly because it’s mine. It is, however, much smaller than Julia’s, although hers is not humongous.

And with that, goodnight and thank you.

 What? Kittens? Sigh. You’re so insistent. Okay. I needed an updated picture for things like my new About page. So I took some photos of myself. Some of the outtakes are amusing. This is a frequent happening:

I walk around the house like a pirate with his parrot half the time.

This morning BOTH cats jumped on my shoulders AT THE SAME TIME. I wish I’d been in front of the camera for that.


  1. Jes Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    Talk about some shoulder balance 🙂

    UGH about your commute–10 miles is hella long for DC. I can’t even imagine. If only you were slightly closer so that you could bike or something. I don’t feel your pain, but I understand.

    Can’t wait to see the updates for the page! Oh, and ramps! What a lovely surprise!

  2. Josiane Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Oh, my cat used to climb on my back behind my head just like Torticia does on that pic!
    Ramps sound awesome. I hope one day I’ll be able to find and taste them.

  3. Amy Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    I’ve never heard of ramps OR peeling asparagus. woah!
    One of my cats sits on my shoulders too!

  4. susan Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    I lived one block up from Shady Grove Road for years and our office was on Rockville Pike across from White Flint Mall. I remember the 1 hour commute for 5 miles ON A SIX LANE HIGHWAY!!! I don’t miss DC area traffic!

  5. FoodFeud Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Oof, sorry to hear about that commute! Complaining when I miss my train, even when another is going to come 5 minutes later seems pretty lame now.
    LOVE the photos of you and your cat! That’s too funny. LOVE that you made it to Julia’s kitchen. I’m always interested in seeing other people’s kitchens and how they reflect their personalities. There seems to be a lot of great stuff at the Smithsonian!
    Also – funny timing with your post, I had never heard of peeling asparagus but right after reading this, I saw on Mihl’s blog that apparently you have to peel white asparagus ( Maybe that’s what it was recommended for?

  6. renae Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

    FoodFeud, I somehow missed Mihl’s post yesterday, but that IS very interesting about white asparagus. I didn’t know you had to peel it. I never thought of peeling either one, although I’m not even sure I’ve ever bought white asparagus.

  7. Courtney Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

    A recipe index sounds wonderful–thank you so much for doing that!

    I am confused–why does it take you so long to go 10 miles? Is it traffic or bad roads or what? I am sorry! That sounds awful 🙁


  8. renae Said,

    May 3, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    Courtney, it’s traffic. The DC metro area has the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic in the country – I believe we officially beat L.A. this year.

  9. Kim Said,

    May 5, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    Hi, I’m new to your blog.

    DC traffic is the worst. I commute from Maryland to Virginia and it is aweful. I usually end up going in late and leaving after 7. I like NPR when I’m stuck in traffic.

    I’ve never heard of ramps. I’m going to have to find some.

    My cat doesn’t jump on me. But she bites my face to wake me up in the morning. I let her do it because she purrs the whole time and I’m usually too sleepy to move.


  10. renae Said,

    May 5, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    Hi Kim! I did an Arlington –> Baltimore commute for a while (I’m from Baltimore) and it was so terrible I had to find another job. I know it’s even worse in the opposite direction, so I feel for you. Ramps are wild leeks. If your job is near a Wegmans, you may find them there (I did), but otherwise your best bet would be a farmers market.

  11. Kevin Said,

    May 7, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    Dear lord! I’ve never heard of such terrible traffic. Have you tried commuting by bike? 10 miles might sound like a lot, but once you get into it, it’s so nice to be free from traffic!

  12. renae Said,

    May 9, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    Kevin, I wish I could bike to work – there are many days when I’d get home in less time than driving – but it’s really not feasible on the roads I need to travel. Even very experienced bikers (which I am not) would be courting death to do it. Then again, I guess there wasn’t much danger on the day it took 2 1/2 hours, since none of the cars were actually moving!

  13. Alexis Said,

    May 27, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    I made this today after finding ramps at the farmer’s market this weekend — didn’t know I could get them here in Oregon! It was really tasty; I added some lemon and cut down on the salt for my tastes. I decided I would have liked it with less pasta and more ramps. They are so good! Thanks for such a simple & tasty recipe.

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment