Ramp Pesto

IMG_2295Seriously, you have no idea how hard it was to not use the pun in the title of this post, even after writing it in multiple social media captions.IMG_2214IMG_2227IMG_2242IMG_2244I have long awaited a spring in which I would actually have ramp recipes planned out- most of the time I either find the recipe as the season has ended, or I’m not interested in the go-to ones, such as putting them on pizza or pickling them. Which is not to say those aren’t good uses for them- the super garlic-y flavor is a great contrast to a standard margarita pizza, and pickling anything (yes, the trendy thing, whatever) prolongs its shelf life. That said, I wanted to push it a little further, beyond the realm of “” and to the “woah, that’s intense”IMG_2247IMG_2255IMG_2262IMG_2271

I’ve also been wanting to try alternative pesto ingredients- basil is great, but arugula’s bitterness, or an english pea’s sweetness, has always intrigued me. So, ramp pesto sounded like a pretty good effort.IMG_2290IMG_2294-2I opted not to boil the ramp leaves, as they were a couple days old and I was concerned cooking them would take away whatever remaining flavor there was. After tasting it, I don’t regret it, but would definitely recommend following the original recipe if you want a (slightly-less) over the top flavor.IMG_2300IMG_2796I also used traditional pine nuts instead of the walnuts, since those were the only ones I have, and I didn’t feel like running out to buy raw walnuts and then roast them. I don’t regularly keep anything like that, as I’m just genuinely not a nut fan- I only started eating peanut butter while abroad in Rwanda because it was something familiar. Even now, I only buy nuts when someone has explicitly requested them in a dish However, I think the richness of the walnuts would have balanced the ramps a bit more, as the garlic-y flavor is just incredibly strong, though a bit more cheese helped mellow that out.IMG_2779

Ramp Pesto

Adapted from Bon Appetit

4-5 ounces ramps, greens separated
Kosher salt
¼ cup pine nuts
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino, plus more for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Blanch ramp greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 10 seconds.
  2. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer greens to a bowl of ice water; drain and squeeze out liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, coarsely chop ramp bulbs and stalks (save or pickle the rest) and pine nuts in a food processor.
  4. Add ramp greens, olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. Pecorino; process to a coarse paste. Season with salt.


To make with pasta:

  1. Toss spaghetti and ½ cup cooking liquid (if not made at the same time as pesto, just reserve some of the water used to make pasta) with pesto, adding more cooking liquid as needed until pesto coats pasta.
  2. Serve topped with more Pecorino and with lemon wedges.

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