Right now in New York the Farmer’s Markets are overflowing with ramps. I used the leafy tops as a replacement for garlic in this pesto. They are very spicy, but the addition of basil mellows out the flavor. I would love to have the time and space to make fresh pasta, but since I don’t it’s luckily very easy to find high-quality, freshly made pasta. I bought a lovely three cheese-stuffed ravioli.
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1 dozen high-quality freshly made ravioli(6 per person)
1 bunch ramps(wild leek)
1 bunch fresh basil
1/4 lb walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus to taste
4 tbsp olive oil, plus to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tbsp butter
Zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
For the pesto: wash ramps well and be sure to remove any grit around the leaves and roots. Finely chop the green tops of the ramps. Wash and do the same with the basil. About 2 handfuls of each and place into the food processor. Then add a 1/4 of a cup of grated Parmesan.
In a small saute pan on low heat, toast the walnuts. Toss until golden brown, reserve half of the walnuts to mix into the ravioli and add the other half to the food processor. Pulse until smooth, slowly adding olive oil while blending, about 4 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper, then taste. Adjust seasoning and add more olive oil if needed. Blend until smooth.
For the ravioli: Follow package directions for the ravioli. Bring salted water to a boil and reduce heat before adding the ravioli. This helps to keep them from breaking. Fresh pasta takes almost no time to cook, about 3 minute maximum, so keep an eye on the pot.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the butter and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan with the ravioli. Toss to coat pasta, then add two spoons of the ramp pesto. Add halved cherry tomatoes and the rest of the toasted walnuts. Toss to coat pasta. Serve in bowls, then garnish with lemon zest and shaved Parmesan.