Ramp Carbonara

April 11, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 6
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Ramp Carbonara
  • 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 pecorino 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).
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Recipe by: meganvt01


46 Reviews

Johanna G. May 17, 2021
This was wonderful. First time ever making carbonara. Will make this again.
Jennifer B. May 23, 2020
So delicious! Had a bunch of ramps and made this to celebrate the end of spring. Refined and cozy all at once.
Gabi N. April 25, 2020
I love the idea Of this recipe but the eggs should be added off the heat or you scramble them as can be seen in photo #2. Sorry to leave a bad review but I think that’s an important step.
stephanie May 24, 2015
This is excellent. I've made it three times in the past couple of weeks.
Harold B. April 27, 2014
So confused....step 4 assumes that pasta is done, and then step 5 wants you to start pasta....directions need considerable refinement.
FunkyLady May 18, 2012
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!
lapadia May 15, 2012
Belated congrats on your win! Sorta reminds me of a dish my grandmother made with dandelions...
healthierkitchen May 14, 2012
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?
meganvt01 May 14, 2012
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.
Consultant W. May 13, 2012
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.
dymnyno May 13, 2012
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.
meganvt01 May 14, 2012
Sorry - black pepper is in step 2 - I inadvertently left it out of the ingredients list.
dymnyno May 14, 2012
Perfect...I just read the list of ingredients and couldn't figure out why you called it carbonara...now it makes sense.
Waverly May 10, 2012
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.
mrslarkin May 10, 2012
Congratulations on the win, meganvt01!
DianneD May 9, 2012
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.
Jocelyn G. May 14, 2012
I just bought ramps today in Berkeley, CA, but I don't know where they were grown.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 9, 2012
TasteFood May 9, 2012
Congratulations on your win! I look forward to making this.
wssmom May 9, 2012
So thrilled for you!
Bevi May 9, 2012
Congrats! This is a must-have!
inpatskitchen May 9, 2012
Congratulations Megan! A truly great recipe!!!
EmilyC May 9, 2012
Congrats Megan on your well-deserved win!
gingerroot May 9, 2012
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.