Ramp Carbonara

By • April 21, 2012 46 Comments

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Author Notes: This dish combines the earthy character of spring ramps and the unctuous elegance of a good carbonara. I slice the ramp leaves into long, thin ribbons so that when the pasta is twirled on a plate, the ramp leaves intertwine with the pasta. One pound is a lot of ramps - but its meant to be the star of the dish. I diverged from the traditional carbonara with a big squeeze of lemon at the end, to brighten up this beautiful spring dish. This dish is all about timing your pasta and sauce to be done together. You can cook the pancetta and ramp bulbs and hold these off the heat while you wait for your pasta to be almost done.meganvt01

Food52 Review: WHO: meganvt01 is an attorney in Annapolis who loves to cook with local seafood and produce whenever possible.
WHAT: A pasta that's over-the-top in all the right ways: meaty pancetta, creamy eggs, and delicate ramps get equal billing.
HOW: It's a classic carbonara preparation -- beat the eggs with cheese and pepper, crisp the pancetta, then toss them together with pasta -- but with the very welcome addition of lightly sauteed ramp bulbs and leaves.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Aside from the ramps this is a pantry meal, but your guests will never notice that when you serve them this showstopper!
The Editors

Serves 6

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ramps
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated pecornio romano
  • 1/2 medium sized lemon
  • 5 eggs (I used large - if you use extra large - 4 eggs)
  1. First, prep the ramps. Cut the root end off and separate the bulbs from the leaves. Slice the bulbs in half and then chop. For the leaves - stack 5 - 10 leaves on top of each other. Then slice them lengthwise into 1/4 inch ribbons. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, parm, and pecorino. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large (big enough to easily handle a pound of cooked spaghetti) skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp (or a little less crisp if you prefer softer). Add your white wine and cook until reduced by half.
  4. Remove the pancetta and add the ramp bulbs, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. At this point - if your pasta isn't quiet ready - remove from heat. About 2 minutes before your pasta is done, add the ramp leaves and cook until softly wilted.
  5. While you are cooking the pancetta and ramps, get well salted water boiling in a large stock pot. Cook your spaghetti 1 minute less than suggested for al dente. (Your pasta will continue to cook in the sauce). Mine cooked for 11 minutes.
  6. Drain your cooked pasta (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and add the spaghetti to the pan with pancetta and ramps. Toss the pasta in the sauce for 1 minute, allowing each piece to get coated with the sauce. The pan should still be at medium heat.
  7. Pour the egg/cheese mixture into the hot pasta, using a wooden spoon to quickly distribute the mixture. Remove from heat and continue stirring for 1 - 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the eggs are cooked. (At this point, if your sauce is too thick, you can loosen it with some of the pasta water). Squeeze your lemon over the sauce and season with salt and pepper (if necessary).

More Great Recipes: Pasta|Entrees|Olive Oil

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Comments (46) Questions (1)


3 months ago steph (whisk/spoon)

This is excellent. I've made it three times in the past couple of weeks.


over 1 year ago Harold Brazil

So confused....step 4 assumes that pasta is done, and then step 5 wants you to start pasta....directions need considerable refinement.


over 3 years ago FunkyLady

I made this tonight for a couple friends and it came out great. I added kale in step 4 for added veggies - worked perfectly. Thank you for this keeper!


over 3 years ago lapadia

Belated congrats on your win! Sorta reminds me of a dish my grandmother made with dandelions...


over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

I made this recently and it was delicious. I did cut the eggs back to three extra large, which was plenty rich for us. I think there are a couple of missing instructions though. I removed the pancetta in step 4 but wasn't sure where you intended it to go back in. I put it back in in step 6, but if Id wanted to leave it crisper I might have added it back in after the eggs/cheese. also, if you deglaze with the pancetta in the pan, it definitely won't stay crisp, so I guess if you want it crisp, or some of it at least, it has to be removed before the wine goes in?


over 3 years ago meganvt01

Sorry for the lack of clarity - step 6 is where you add the pancetta back in - it isn't explicit - just implied. The slideshow is pretty helpful to show the steps.


over 3 years ago Consultant who cooks

I've never had ramps before, but I tried the recipe for dinner last night - delicious! I love the brightness the ramps bring to the carbonara. When ramp season is over, I'll switch to scallions and a little bit of garlic, and I might try a version with anchovies instead of pancetta as well. Great recipe.


over 3 years ago dymnyno

This definitely sounds delicious and a keeper. But, why call it "carbonara"? Isn't that why black pepper is added to classic carbonara. It is part of the lore of the recipe.


over 3 years ago meganvt01

Sorry - black pepper is in step 2 - I inadvertently left it out of the ingredients list.


over 3 years ago dymnyno

Perfect...I just read the list of ingredients and couldn't figure out why you called it carbonara...now it makes sense.


over 3 years ago Waverly

Congratulations! This looks delicious. Carbonara is great comfort food. Before discovering Food 52 a few years ago, I had never seen or heard of a ramp! I am West of the Mississippi and apparently cannot belong to "the ramp club". While I feel a little left out, maybe some nice Spring onions will work.


over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congratulations on the win, meganvt01!


over 3 years ago DianneD

From somewhere in the inner recesses of the Rocky Mountain West, I tried this tonight with leeks and spinach and 2 cloves of garlic as the ramp substitute. Having lived here most of my life, I have never tasted a ramp and only hope to if I am in a civilized place sometime that equates the season Spring with moisture (do ramps exists west of the Mississippi?). The husband loved it and said it was "just what I needed today," that being after he simulated climbing the Alp d' Huez on his indoor cycle trainer because he could not go outside because it is threatening snow.


over 3 years ago jocelyng

I just bought ramps today in Berkeley, CA, but I don't know where they were grown.


over 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

sexyLAMBCHOPx is a trusted home cook.



over 3 years ago TasteFood

Congratulations on your win! I look forward to making this.


over 3 years ago wssmom

So thrilled for you!


over 3 years ago Bevi

Congrats! This is a must-have!


over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Congratulations Megan! A truly great recipe!!!


over 3 years ago EmilyC

Congrats Megan on your well-deserved win!


over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations Megan, delicious pasta dish and a well deserved win!


over 3 years ago gingerroot

Congratulations, meganvt01!! I'm thrilled for you and if I ever find ramps on this little island (still searching for them) I'll toast you by making your gorgeous dish.


over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! This is such a great recipe!


over 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats on the win meganvt01! When I first saw your recipe, I said "why didn't I think of that!" We've had it a few times since you posted it and it's a keeper!