This ramp pasta uses spaghettini, takes less than 10 minutes to make and screams spring is finally here!
Foraging for ramps is one of my favourite times of the year because it signals the beginning of spring. Also known as wild leeks, wild spring onions, ramson or wood leeks, they only grow for a few weeks in Canada and the northern United States.
I love that ramps are one of the few things in life that are still seasonal – and not like strawberries (with their flavourless white interiors) that we can get all year round.
Ramps are so popular that in some US States and Quebec, it’s illegal to forage for them because they’re over picked by professional foragers. In Ontario there is a movement to be more responsible and not over pick.
MUST READ: Our Spring Guide to Foraging Edible Plants
In fact, no one will tell you where to find them. You have to find them yourself in heavily wooded, damp areas. We are so fortunate that one of Dave’s good friends, who supplies our cider at Loka, also has private land where we are able to forage.
In the beginning it was just the two of us but last year we brought our team from Loka to spend a day in clear air and we had such a good time that we brought them again this year.
There’s something really special about foraging for ingredients and then reaping the benefits. Last year servers proudly told our guests they had actually foraged the ingredients. It’s a special moment when city folk get their hands dirty.
But it’s the most satisfying when we finally taste what we harvested. Ramps have such a delicate but powerful flavour and that first taste is so special, which is one of the reasons why we love ramp pasta.
Cleaning Ramps Can Be Tedious
The work doesn’t end in the forest. When you get home they must be thoroughly cleaned as mud loves to lurk. The leaves are delicate so we soak ours in water to remove the mud.
If you can’t make it out to a forest ramps are often available at farmers’ markets by either a forager or farmer’s also may be growing them. However, as they are in high demand it’s best to ask. Many times ramps are on the table and instead stowed away for those who know just how special they are.
In Toronto markets Forbes Wild Foods is a great resource as they are ethical foragers and also spread wild leek seeds to help replenish the population.
In previous years we’ve shared recipes for pickled ramps, beer battered ramps, ramp kimchi, charred ramp pesto. This year the first taste was simple and so easy to cook – ramp pasta using delicate spaghettini.
Today we’re using Catelli Ancient Grains spaghettini. It’s made with 100% whole grain blend of Canadian wheat and five ancient grains -quinoa, amaranth, teff, sorghum and millet. It’s heartier with 8g of fiber, 25% of the daily iron intake and 12g of protein.
You can make this ramp pasta vegetarian by omitting the prosciutto. But I love how the saltiness of the cheese and prosciutto play off the ramp pasta. We want lighter food, which is why we chose the spaghettini. But the weather can also be cold and damp and the cheese and prosciutto just feel comforting.
Ramp Pasta With Prosciutto and Parmesan
Catelli 150 Anniversary Collection
This year Catelli turns 150 year old, along with Canada! We’ve contributed to a special collection of recipes with Canadian chefs and home cooks across the country. You can check the recipes out here. We share a black truffle mac and cheese recipe which is so decadent but I also want to make The Food Gays Four Step Fettuccine with Chili Garlic Shrimp.
If you love foraged recipes also check out:
If you’re looking for good cookbooks for foraged ingredients also check out.
Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm & Field
The Field to Table Cookbook: Gardening, Foraging, Fishing, & Hunting
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir
Disclosure: This ramp pasta post is part of a four part paid recipe series in partnership with Catelli Pasta. It’s our second year working with this great Canadian brand. Even if they hadn’t approached us we would still be eating pasta 3-4 nights a week.