Ramp and Brussels Sprout Pasta

pasta spring greens egg

You know the Portlandia sketch “Put a Bird on It”? I’m kind of like that, but with pasta. Got a bunch of gorgeous veggies you’d like to make into a meal? Put it on pasta. Leftover sausage? Put it on pasta. There are many other fine grains out there, and I do try to diversify. But pasta just calls to me. I open the cupboard and it says, “C’mon Kate, you know who’s your favoritest carb. Why fight it?” What can I do but give in?

Which is exactly what I did yesterday when I received my first Fresh Picks box, filled with gorgeous spring greenery. Most exciting of all was a bunch of ramps, which I’d never seen before and at first mistook for scallions. After a bit of careful research (Mr. Google), I learned that not only are these creatures delicious, but they are, in fact, responsible for the name of Chicago itself! A 17th-century explorer named Robert Cavelier described a thick growth of vegetation near Lake Michigan as the wild onion, called Chicagou in the language of the native tribe. Recently, it was found that these wild onions were actually ramps.

So it’s clearly an act of civic pride to eat these by the barrelful. And, did I mention that they are delicious? The whites are a milder version of the scallion, and the greens have a lovely, delicate onion flavor. Put them on some pasta, why don’t you!

Ramp and Brussels Sprout Pasta

1 c. cashews, unsalted
2 c. brussels sprouts, quartered with ends removed
1 bunch ramps, whites diced and greens julienned
parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp. good, aged balsamic vinegar, or reduced balsamic vinegar if it’s not that aged
olive oil
1 egg
1/2 lb. penne

Preheat oven to 450. Put a pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.

Lay the brussels sprouts out on a cookie sheet and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they have reached your preferred level of crunchiness (I like mine really crunchy). When done, put them in a large bowl.

In a dry, heavy-bottomed pan, toast the cashews until they turn brown. Add to the large bowl.

In the same pan, warm some oil over medium and saute the ramp whites until they are soft and translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the greens and cook until they wilt, maybe a minute. Add the bowl with the cashews and brussels sprouts.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Add to the bowl and toss, adding olive oil until lightly coated.

Bring the same pan with another tbsp. of oil to medium, and fry an egg, about a minute on each side.

To serve: dish out the pasta, then drizzle some good vinegar–no more than maybe a tbsp. Add the egg to the top, grate cheese over it, and finish with salt and pepper.


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About Kate Soto


One response to “Ramp and Brussels Sprout Pasta”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide says :

    Looks tasty! I love a good balsamic. Great photos too.

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