Monday, June 6, 2011

Meatless Monday: Ramp & Arugula Pesto

Have you ever foraged for food before?  Picked wild raspberries off of a bush you found in the forrest or on the edge of your property when you were a child?  I vaguely remember picking berries with my grandfather when he would take my brother, cousins and I to find the creek, or "crick" as he called it,that was set deep in the farmland behind their house in Westmoreland, NY.  The few times we did it, I remember those wild berries tasting so sweet, maybe it was that we were on an adventure with Grandpa, maybe it was the sweetness of  sun-kissed berries in the heat of summer, I think it was a combination of these and many other factors.

Since then I haven't really been a position to forage. That is until I moved to Ontario and have the perfect place to forage for ramps right near my in-laws.  As a result, I've become a little obsessive about it.  In the past couple years it's been all about making pesto, which we eat right away and I freeze a bit for later. I've made a commitment to myself this year to do all I can to preserve the fruits of spring and summer.  With ramps, it means freezing pesto, making ramp pickles and kimchi.

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Ramp & Arugula Pesto
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup ramp greens - sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 5 ramp bulbs - sliced
  • 1/3 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
1. Gently toast the the pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium heat. Let cool.22. Whir the pine nuts, arugula, ramp greens, and ramp bulbs in the food processor until they are all chopped up.3. While the processor is running strema int he extra virgin olive oil, you may need more or less depending on how loose you want your pesto.4. Finally pulse in the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper. Toss with fettucine, or add to a pizza, grilled chicken or fried potatoes.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3/4 cup
When I first made this pesto a few years ago the Boy took one taste of the simple pasta tossed with it and wouldn't stop talking about how amazing it was.  Prior to that if I had ever suggested just pasta, with no meat for dinner, he'd turn his nose up.  Not with this pesto.  So I make sure to make extra and fill ice cube trays with the sauce, freeze them and when they're nice and sold toss them in freezer bags, so I have nice individual 2 Tbsp servings or pesto for all kinds of uses.

Though the ramp season is all but over, I suggest bookmarking all of your favorite ramp recipes from the web and there have been a ton lately, for next season.


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