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
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 35 minutes
- Serves 6
grated pecorino romano
medium sized lemon
eggs (I used large - if you use extra large - 4 eggs)
- 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.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, parm, and pecorino. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).