i grew up in the appalachian mountains and every spring my church had a ramp festival. my sister and i hated this festival. to us, ramps smelled so bad and we didn't even bother tasting any of the dishes with ramps in them. thank goodness palates mature.
ramps hit my local farmer's market a few weekends ago, and i took full advantage of the spring onion. my adult taste buds like ramps almost any old way: scrambled with eggs, sauteed with mushrooms on top of polenta or grits or tossed with pasta. however, this year, i am determined to preserve as much seasonal produce as possible so that i'm still enjoying local fruits and veggies in the dreary months of january and february.
so, while a few of the ramps were quickly eaten, the rest were preserved. i pickled some (pictured above), i made a ramp pesto with the tops of the ramps that were pickled, and i made a pound of ramp butter, most of which i'm storing in the freezer (thank you to serious eats for the recipes and inspiration).
after working hard to preserve these delicious spring treats, i combined a few of the products above to make this ramp-a-licious pasta. i added chicken to "beef up" the dish so that the boy and i would have leftovers for lunch for the work week, but it can easily be omitted. topping the dish with a dollop of ricotta and pesto isn't required but sure is decadent. i've recently gotten addicted to salvatore bklyn ricotta, a locally made and locally sourced ricotta.
1 tablespoon ramp butter - divided
1 raw boneless chicken breast - cut into chunks and sprinkled with salt & pepper
1/4 cup raw bacon - roughly chopped
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
8 ounces orichette pasta
2-3 tablespoons ramp pesto
1-2 tablespoons fresh ricotta
place large pot of water over high heat for pasta. while cooking chicken, let pasta cook according to package directions, drain, and let sit until you add to saucepan.
heat large saucepan over medium heat. melt one teaspoon ramp butter and add raw chicken to the pan. brown chicken on both sides and let cook for approx 10 minutes. add bacon, toss over medium-high heat until bacon begins to crisp (~3-5 minutes).
add cooked pasta to the saucepan and toss with lemon juice, zest and pesto. top with ricotta and another bit of pesto, if desired.