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Author Notes: I recently had the pleasure of having my young nephew over for dinner. While he is unequivocally my favorite nephew (he's my only nephew ;), he is at that age where he can be quite the contrarian, and is a notoriously picky eater. He took one look at what the adults were eating for dinner and dug in his heels . . . In a desperate (and, yes, lame) attempt to dazzle him into trying our pasta, we told him that this was special, Dr. Seuss pasta. We had (mostly) all the components: green ramps, oozy poached eggs, and sausage (close enough to ham).
I'm happy to report that he WAS willing to try it, and us adults gobbled it up with abandon! - Oops! Were you gonna eat that?
Serves 4-6 (as a main vs. starter)
- 3/4 pound Sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 bunches Ramps (about 3/4 lb), root ends trimmed, cleaned (slice large ramps in half lengthwise)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup Packed basil leaves (about 1 oz), torn into bite size pieces
- 3/4 pound Orecchiette pasta
- 4 ounces Asiago cheese, freshly grated
- 4-6 Eggs
- 1-2 teaspoons Vinegar (for poaching), optional
- In a large sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon. Cook through, until browned and the juices run clear, about 12 minutes. Remove the cooked sausage with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
- Return the pan with the rendered fat to medium heat. Add the TBS of olive oil if necessary. Add the ramps. Sprinkle with the salt and a few good grinds of black pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the greens are all wilted and the whites are just beginning to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sausage back to the pan and toss to combine with the ramps. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to package directions. When the pasta is done cooking, remove with a slotted spoon or spider and add it directly to the sauté pan with the sausage and ramps. Scoop out about a half cup of the pasta cooking liquid and add that to the sauté pan as well.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta/sausage/ramp mixture and toss everything to combine. The cheese and pasta cooking liquid should form a "sauce." Keep warm over the lowest possible heat.
- Time to poach the eggs. For this recipe, I don't use a large pasta pot, but rather use a smaller soup pot or my le creuset. Once I've removed the pasta from the boiling water, I turn off the heat and add a teaspoon of vinegar. Then I swirl it a bit to form a "whirlpool" and gently slide in the eggs, which I've cracked into individual small ramekins. Once the eggs are in, cover the pot and let the eggs sit for 4 minutes.
- While the eggs are cooking, plate the pasta. When the eggs are done, remove from water gently with a slotted spoon and top each plate with one egg. Add a grind of black pepper and slice the egg open so the yolk oozes out and creates a "sauce" for the pasta.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Alliums