This is for the Recipe Off-Roading Series. I adapted my recipe from Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter. Ramps are currently in season in New England and I knew I had to incorporate them into the dish! It added a deeper vegetal alliumness that provided a nice complexity to the sauce. —Jennifer Bailey
6, up to 1 or 1.5 pounds of pasta
fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below
butter, plus a little extra to saute ramps
medium onion, peeled and cut in half
ramps, trim off roots and chop, separating whites and greens
1. Heat up a small pat of butter in a saucepan until melted. Add ramp whites on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until translucent.
Add the fresh, prepared tomatoes to the saucepan. Add the butter, onion, and salt. Cook uncovered at a slow, but steady simmer for at least 45 minutes. If time allows, let it cook for up to 2 hours. If I'm planning on cooking it this long, I'll make it the night before, as it reheats nicely and the lengthened cook time helps meld the flavors.
3. Stir periodically throughout the cooking process.
4. Taste and correct for salt. Before tossing with pasta, remove the onion and save it for a soup or other dish.
Prepping Tomatoes to Sauce
1. The blanching method: Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them and cut into coarse pieces.
2. The freezing method: Freeze tomatoes on a baking sheet until firm. Skin them and cut into course pieces. If you freeze them until just firm, they'll be thawed by the time you peel them.