What’s in a ramp….? Answer: no one knows! So, when I saw what I thought was a ramp in my local market, I was all about it. So much so, I bought ramp pasta, ramp pesto, and fresh ramps. I was here to embrace a country who really commits to seasonality. You can imagine my surprise when I unpacked my grocery haul to find that maybe these ramps weren’t ramps. Maybe they were…bear garlic….? After googling this one, I learned that bear garlic is what bears eat. Excellent. I am now alone in a foreign country eating stinky food shared by large mammals, also known as the best way to make new friends. Whatever, it was in season and a bear’s gonna bear.
Real talk. Ramps/bear garlic is where the phrase “smarter than the average bear” originates. Screw the honey, don’t poke the bear, these funky greens are delicious.
Bears (also Mario Battali and David Lebovitz) recommend a sprinkle of a dry Italian cheese like pecorino. Gives me the warm fuzzies just looking at it. This is definitely a meal worth waking up from hibernation for and I plan to mark spring’s arrival with this same dish next spring.
Ramping Up to Spring Pasta
- Fresh pasta- with ramps folded in if you can find it/make it
- Ramps! or Bear Garlic! roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- Boil salty water for pasta.
- Heat a healthy glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute ramps until wilted.
- Drain pasta and pour into ramp saute.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with shaved pecorino.
You can also stir in a scoop of ramp pesto if you find it. Other recipes suggest a squeeze of lemon or sprinkle of chili flakes, but I think it’s best to keep it simple when you’re ramping up to better seasons.