Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ramps Revisited - Lemony Ramp Ravioli with Brown Butter + Basic Ramp Pesto

Ramps! Photo: NK
They're back....
That's right, Ramps! 

The culinary all-star of the veggie world has made its brief yet triumphant annual appearance at farm stands everywhere. 

To learn more about the illustrious Ramp, check out last year's post and some bonus Ramp Recipes HERE

This week, we are doing lots with these babies, and the best news is that all our recipes will be super easy yet impressive. Would you expect anything less? 

Let's start simple with Ramp Pesto, a super way to use Ramps but also, a way to extend their short seasonal window. Our Pesto is versatile, delicious, and freezes well. Use it as a sandwich spread (just you wait until we show you what we have planned for our next post) or as a traditional Pasta topping. No matter what you do, you'll love the fresh and garlicky character of these hard to resist greens.

Easy Ramp Pesto, Photo: NK
Simple Ramp Pesto
Makes about 1 Cup
1 Small Bunch Ramps, roughly chopped (about 15-20 ramps)
1/4 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Salt

In a food processor, process Ramps until finely minced. 
Add Walnuts and process. 
Add Oil and process. 
Add Lemon Juice, Salt, and to finish, add Parmigiana Reggiano Cheese. Process well. 


Next up, Lemony Ramp Ravioli with a Savory Brown Butter Sauce and Crispy Ramp topping. But how can Ravioli be easy and quick? Well, we're using a great shortcut that I first learned from Giada De Laurentiis -  Wonton Wrappers. That's right, while not authentically Italian of course, Wonton Wrappers are a great way to make Ravioli that is fast, easy, and delicate. Find them at Asian Groceries in the freezer section. Our Ravioli recipe highlights the garlicky Ramp while marrying it with the standard savory Ricotta filling. We took it one step further by mixing in a healthy dose of Lemon Zest (a nod to Amalfitana Ravioli from the Lemon-obsessed Amalfi coast). Finally, an easy two-ingredient Brown butter tops our little Ravioli with savory goodness. Crispy fried Ramp greens are the final flourish.  These Ravioli can be frozen in their uncooked state, just be sure to separate layers with wax paper or they will stick together. When ready to eat, you may boil them frozen, but they will take a few extra minutes to cook beyond the regular 4 minutes.

Lemony Ramp Ravioli with Brown Butter and Crispy Ramps
Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis, Mario Batali, and Adapted from Andrew Feinberg
Serves 6 as an Appetizer, 4 as a Main Course

For Ravioli
36 Wonton Wrappers (preferably square)
1 Egg, beaten

For Filling
1 bunch Ramps, About 12 of them roughly chopped & ground into a fine mince using a food processor, another 10 Ramps -greens leaves only- reserved (for Sauce/Crispy Ramp Topping)

15 Ounces Fat Free or Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/3 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Tablespoon Half and Half or Cream (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

For Sauce
1 Stick Salted Butter
10 Ramp Greens (see above) stacked and cut lengthwise into very thin strips

Create the Ravioli Filling by combining all filling ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix up the Egg Wash for sealing the Ravioli by beating one egg and adding some water (about a Tablespoon). 
Filling the Ravioli, Photo: NK

Lay out Wonton Wrappers on a clean surface. Place 1/2 teaspoon Ravioli Filling in the middle of each Wrapper. Dip a pastry brush in Egg Wash and paint around the edges of the Wrapper. 

Carefully fold the square Wrapper in half, creating a triangle. Use your fingertips to firmly press down on the dough to seal. Place on a baking sheet or other surface. Repeat until you've filled the desired amount of Ravioli. 

In a large Pasta Pot, boil salted water. Working in small batches (these Ravioli are particularly delicate), boil the Ravioli until done. Try to keep the boil at a gentle pace so Ravioli don't break. They should take only 4 minutes to cook. Carefully remove them to plates using a slotted spoon. Once plated, prepare the Brown Butter and Crispy Ramp Sauce.

In a medium sauce pan, melt 1 stick Salted Butter. Let it sit over medium heat until it starts to bubble and becomes a brown/golden color. Once browning, add the thinly sliced Ramp Greens and allow to crisp a bit. Lower heat if butter seems to be burning. Pour Butter Sauce over each plate of Ravioli and garnish with crispy Ramps. Enjoy!

Lemony Ramp Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Crispy Ramps, Photo: NK

Stay tuned for more Ramp Recipe madness later this week, and we recommend you get 'em while you can. Peak Ramp season is only about 4 weeks! 

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