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Ramp Pesto Risotto

Ramp Pesto Risotto

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lay the asparagus out on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss the stalks together well to distribute the oil and seasonings. Roast in the oven until the stalks are cooked through and charred, about 15-20 minutes. Cut the stalks into ¼-inch pieces and set aside.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the chicken broth and water in a saucepan and place over low heat.

Add the arborio rice to the onion and garlic and stir well so that each grain of rice is coated in the oil. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir the rice constantly until all of the wine is absorbed.

When the rice is dry, season with salt and pepper, to taste and add enough chicken broth so that the rice is completely covered in the liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until all of the broth has been absorbed. Continue to add the warmed broth in increments until the rice is fully cooked through (you should use almost all of the 6 cups).

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped asparagus, Parmesan cheese, ramp pesto, and butter. Stir well to incorporate and adjust the seasoning. Serve.

  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 ramps, rinsed and trimmed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable stock or water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 13 1/2 ounces) risotto-style rice (see note)
  • 2 ounces finely grated parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon grated zest and 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, combine ricotta with half of chives and half of parsley in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Set aside 8 ramps. Divide remaining ramps into whites and greens. Thinly slice whites and set aside. Blanch greens in boiling water until bright green, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and run under cold water until completely chilled. Transfer to a blender. Blend on high speed, adding water as necessary, until a smooth, bright green puree is formed. Set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add chopped ramp whites and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring and tossing frequently until all liquid is evaporated, fat is bubbling, and rice has begun to take on a pale golden blond color and nutty aroma, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mostly absorbed. Add half of stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly absorbed. Add 2 more cups stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring until mostly absorbed after each addition, until rice is nearly done but still slightly chalky in center. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add reserved ramps and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and tender. Transfer to a large plate.

Return risotto to heat and add remaining half cup stock, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, and ramp green puree. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is cooked through and risotto is very creamy and loose. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining parsley and chives.

Serve risotto in warm bowls, topped with sautéed ramps and herb ricotta. Serve immediately.

Tips for making perfect risotto

  • Choose the proper rice: Medium or short grain rice is typically used for risotto. Arborio rice is a medium grain rice with a starchy coating. The extra starch helps make the risotto extra creamy.
  • Toast the rice: An important step in risotto is toasting the rice. This allows the rice to absorb more liquid and not become soggy.
  • Use warm stock: It is important to add warm stock to the rice. I usually just keep it in a small saucepan on the burner behind the risotto. Adding cool stock to the risotto will bring down the temperature of the pan.

Wait until this dish it tossed together to season with salt and pepper. The chicken stock adds salt to the dish. Adding more salt could push it over the edge. Always taste before seasoning.

Add shrimp, scallops or shredded chicken to make this a full meal. You can substitute vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian and add in some veggies.


Step 1

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a rapid simmer, stirring often. Add another 2 cups broth and bring to a simmer again, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and add another 2 cups broth. Cook, stirring often, until broth has slowly come back to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until broth is almost completely absorbed but rice is covered with a thick layer of milky broth, about 20 minutes. If rice is still too firm, add another ½ cup broth and continue to cook until tender, about 3 minutes more.

Step 2

Meanwhile, cook garlic, oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat stir in turmeric and season with pepper (as much as you like!).

Step 3

As soon as the rice is tender, remove pan from heat and stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter season with salt. Stir basil into risotto.

Step 4

Ladle risotto into shallow bowls and top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Squeeze juice from lemon halves over, then grind some more pepper on top.

Ramp Pesto Risotto - Recipes

As I mentioned in my post about harvesting these beautiful ramps, I planned to make a few tasty things with my haul. Risotto was at the very top of that list but, sadly, I did not have any Arborio rice in the house the day I harvested the ramps - quel dommage!

I had to settle for making my second choice - wild ramp and parsley pesto (which was delicious) and writing "ARBORIO RICE. " on the grocery list.

I am a big fan of risotto - it's creamy, comforting and hearty, as well as a perfect palette for flavors both subtle and bold. And I just KNEW the combination of the garlicky ramps, fresh, floral lemon and creamy risotto would be delicious.

Just a little lemon zest adds a world of light flavor to this dish. And thanks to my beloved microplane zester , it only takes a few seconds to produce a lovely little pile of zest.

Then comes the tedious part - add stock and stir repeatedly until it's absorbed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Just when you begin to fear that your arm may actually drop off from all the stirring, it's time to fold in the ramp greens, lemon zest and grated Parmesan cheese! Stir well to ensure even distribution of these yummy late-stage additions.

-- print recipe -- Wild Ramp & Lemon Risotto
Serves 4-6


* 1 large bunch of wild ramps (8-10), cleaned and trimmed with the roots removed (instructions here)
* 2 large shallots
* 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
* 7 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock
* 2 cups Arborio rice (risotto)
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 Tbsp lemon zest (use an organic lemon - you don't want any yucky pesticides or wax)
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper

1. Separate the ramp stalks from the greens and chop each, keeping them separate. Finely chop the shallots.

2. Heat the stock in a saucepan (you'll want to position this right behind whatever burner you plan to use for the risotto pan since you're going to be ladling stock into the pan continuously during the cooking process.) Cover the stock and leave it on low at a simmer (it will need to stay hot the entire time you're cooking the risotto.)

3. In a large, heavy bottomed pan (there are special risotto pans but although nice, they're not necessary) melt the butter and cook the onion on medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains with butter. Saut é e the rice for 2-3 minutes until the rice becomes chalky and you can see a white dot in the center of each grain. Then add the wine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until it's been absorbed.

5. Now the fun begins (by the end of this, your arm will be very tired!) Add one cup of the hot stock to the pan and stir until it has all been absorbed by the rice - if you don't stir and cook until the liquid is absorbed with each addition, the rice will get very gummy).

6. Continue to add stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed the liquid and starts to seem dry before adding more stock. Once you've added 6 cups of the stock, you should start adding 1/2 cup at a time. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked through but still a little al dente, about 30 minutes total (you may not end up using all of the stock but it should be pretty close -- if you run out of stock, you can substitute hot water towards the end.)

8. Turn off the heat, add the chopped ramp greens, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese, mix well to incorporate, then season with salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper, and serve.

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If it were possible to remember my favorite 3 meals of all time this would be one of them. I see the spring issues of BA raving about ramps and until this year I thought they were an elaborate practical joke played on me because i could never find them. This year I stumbled upon them and was beside myself with excitement. This dish was unbelievable. I did make a few minor changes, linguisa sausage and added Swiss chard to the cooking after the first cup of broth. My wife and guests were delighted. Definitely a keeper.

Absolutely amazing. Every year in Spring - I head over to the Union Square farmer's market, buy ramps, and make this dish. It truly is amazing and just the right balance.

I followed the recipe exactly (although I used more chicken broth than needed), and it was delightful. Simple and easy, and a beautiful combination of flavors.

I've made this twice already and it is absolutely devine. I have ramps growing in my backyard, so this will be a staple until the season has passed.

Found ramps and local lamb sausage at the farmer's market today, and thought Iɽ tool around to see what I could make! Used homemade organic chicken stock, and WOW. This was delicious! The lamb sausage (which had feta and mint in it) may have overpowered the ramps a bit, but overall it was still phenomenal! Definitely worth a try if you fall into ramps!

I have made this twice with ramps that grow wild on our island. It is easy and delicious! I found the amount of broth just right. Added some fennel seeds.

This was amazing. I did end up needing to use twice as much broth as was called for, but it turned out great. This is a new staple.

This dish was fantastic. This is my first time writing a review on epicurious, but I was compelled because this was so good. Hot sausage is key - it gives it tremendous flavor. I used extra ramps, almost a pound of sausage, and didn't have vermouth so I just left it out. Will definitely make again.

First off, full disclosure here. I altered this recipe quite a bit based on what I had handy. I was searching for something to make for dinner which didn't require me to go the store. I had just about everything except the ramps so I used leeks instead and I only had sweet italian sausage. This was still quite good and I can't wait to try it again exactly as written but will have to wait until spring to find ramps in my area. The fresh parmesan is really important. I will say it isn't that good the next day but risotto leftovers typically don't appeal to me.

The BEST risotto I've ever made. You must try this. But I agree, ramps are the key - without them it's just your average risotto. Can't wait to make it again this weekend after a trip to the farmer's market.

I found this recipe after buying ramps at the local farmer's market. It was easy to make vegetarian by using vegetable broth and veggie sausage. Very easy, very tasty, and well worth the effort.

I made this for my husband who said it was the best risotto he's ever tasted!

Made this recipe as is and it was awesome, hands down my most delicious risotto ever! I'm sure substitutions are delicious also but I have to agree with the previous reviewer that you have to try this recipe as is in order to get the harmonious flavors of this dish. I'm sad that I probably won't get to try this again anytime soon since ramps don't grow in my area. If you are in an area with an Asian supermarket you may want to try substituting Chinese chives. I think the flavor and smell is similar to ramps, maybe just a bit sweeter.

Make this recipe exactly as is. If you can't locate ramps in your area, then don't even attempt it. The subtle flavor of the ramps are what this recipe is all about. It's an exceptionally delicious risotto.

This is a fantastic recipe. The only changes I made were to 1) add a scallion since I only pick the leaves of the ramps (wanting to leave the roots to encourage them to spread) and 2) used white wine since I don't have vermouth. I don't usually like cheese in my risotto, but this recipe has just the right amount. If you have big eaters, I would double the recipe.

Outstanding. Hubby promptly dubbed it his favorite risotto recipe ever (which is saying something). No ramps to be found (yet), so I used leeks. Served with the fennel and celery salad also on the website, which was also a huge hit.

Delish. I have also made it with Quinoa, which is quicker and just as tasty!

The fine print: Not quite time for ramps when I tried this, so I substituted leeks (white and some green). I also used sweet italian sausage, as opposed to hot, and white wine instead of vermouth. Finally, I topped with some slivered radish. Great. So simple and it really had a wonderful, clean flavor---I will make again.

Fabulous recipe. I made it with leeks instead of ramps and dry white wine instead of vermouth and it was still wonderful. So easy.

This meal is on my steady rotation, now. Every time it's made, someone comments on how great it smells in the cooking process! Also, very easy -- my boyfriend has added it to his rotation as well, which keeps him away from fast food. Avoid sausage in casings altogether, as I bought a bunch of sausage in casings and found they add extra grease to the recipe and make it a sickly orange color. Scallions can be subbed for ramp.

This is not only the best risotto I've ever made, but the best recipe I've ever made from Epicurious and possibly the only one I haven't change . . . much. When ramps were no longer available, I used spring onions, which extends the time a person can make this risotto by nearly a month. Each time, I've used whatever white wine I happen to have. My only caveat is that it makes enough for two, if they're piggie, or three people eating normally. Iɽ hesitate to try and feed four people from this recipe.

Wonderful recipe and very quick and such a nice way to use the beautiful greens available all spring and summer. We used beet greens and even the most anti-vegetable person I know loved it and took the leftovers for lunch the next day.

I added some morels, and sauteed the julienned tops of the ramps in a separate pan before stirring them into the risotto at the end. When I tasted the result, it seemed to scream out for some lemon zest, so I added that as well. Wonderful result! Will definitely make again.

Delicious. AND it was special enough for a dinner party, yet easy and quick enough for a weeknight dinner. That's a winning combo!

List of Ingredients

  • 1 QUART of Vegetable broth
  • 2 1/3 CUPS of carnaroli rice
  • 1 1/3 CUP of green beans
  • 8 of large shrimp
  • 2 OZ. of Basil leaves
  • 2 OZ. of Grana Padano cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 TBSP. of pine nuts
  • Garlic
  • Extravirgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


To make shrimp and pesto risotto, first trim the ends from the green beans, then boil until al dente and chop. Place the basil leaves in a blender with the pine nuts, a clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup oil and blend, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the Grana Padano to make the pesto.

Place a pot over the flame and heat dry, then add the rice and toast for 1 minute, then continue heating as you gradually add the boiling vegetable broth, a little at a time. Cook for 17 minutes until al dente. Peel the shrimp tails, then halve lengthwise, brown in a frying pan with a drizzle of oil, adding salt at the end.

Stir the pesto into the risotto, then add the green beans and the shrimp tails, some of them chopped, and garnish with a grind of pepper and serve immediately.

Poisonous Lookalikes

When it comes to ramps, there is a poisonous lookalike — the lily-of-the-valley. It's toxic for humans and animals alike.

Luckily only the ramp will smell anything like onion-garlic. The lily will have a pleasant floral scent if in bloom but otherwise, it will just smell of nothing much at all.

In fact, anything you find in the forest that smells like onion/garlic will be edible. There are countless varieties of wild alliums in the forest, ramps are just one very trendy type.

Recipe Salmon and English Pea Risotto with Spring Ramps California Grill Contemporary Resort

Ramp Pesto:
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh whole ramps, root ends and tough tops removed and discarded
2 tablespoons grated aged (hard) goat cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon roasted garlic puree
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Pinch coarse salt, coarsely ground black pepper

Roasted Black Trumpet Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups black trumpet mushrooms, or similar wild, meaty mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Saut Peas and Ramps:
1 tablespoon butter
12 fresh ramps, washed well
1/2 cup fresh English peas
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

English Pea Risotto:
2 cups fresh English peas
1/4 cup sugar
6 1/4 cups vegetable stock, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups carnaroli or Arborio rice (also called risotto rice)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated manchego cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Coarse salt, to taste

4 (6-ounce) filets skinless wild salmon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
24 yellow pea tendrils, for garnish

For ramp pesto:
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor pulse until mixture is well combined but still slightly chunky. Set aside.

For roasted black trumpet mushrooms:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Place oil, shallot, garlic, and mushrooms in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss again to thoroughly combine.
3. Place mixture on an ungreased baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the mushrooms are fragrant and slightly shriveled.
4. Place the roasted mushrooms in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing constantly, until mushrooms are seared and crisp around edges. Set aside and keep warm.

For saut peas and ramps:
1. Melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When butter is frothy, add ramps and peas. Sauté for 2 minutes until just warm. Add salt and pepper stir to combine. Set aside and keep warm.

For English pea risotto:
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add peas and sugar to water. Cook 2 minutes, then plunge peas into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
2. Place cooked peas and 1/4 cup of vegetable stock in food processor and puree. Once the mixture is smooth, pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing puree through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Discard solids. Set pea puree aside.
3. Place remaining 6 cups vegetable broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a slight boil, then adjust heat to medium to keep at a simmer.
4. Heat oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add rice sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
5. Slowly ladle 1/2 cup simmering broth into rice, stirring constantly until most of broth is adsorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring frequently between additions and waiting until rice looks slightly dry before adding the next ladleful. When most, but not all, of the broth is absorbed, taste the risotto. When risotto is done, it should not be crunchy at all, but still slightly firm. Add remaining broth, if needed, until risotto is al dente.
6. Remove from heat, and add the pea puree, heavy cream, manchego cheese, butter, and pepper. Taste, then add salt to taste (some broths are salty, so the amount of salt you add will vary). Stir to combine.

For salmon:
1. Sprinkle the salmon filets with salt and white pepper. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, carefully add salmon filets to the pan. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip filets, and cook for 4 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

To serve:
1. Divide the risotto equally among 4 wide, shallow bowls, then place about 1/4 cup mushrooms on the center of the risotto.
2. Place the salmon directly on top of the mushrooms, then place another 1/4 cup mushrooms on top of the salmon. Drizzle a bit of ramp pesto around the outside of the risotto.
3. Evenly divide saut peas and ramps over the top of the fish. Garnish with 6 pea shoots on each portion. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Pesto Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes

You’re wishing it was looking as obnoxiously green as mine is. Don’t deny it.

So guys. Do you by any chance remember my ginormous obsession with risotto back in this post? I more or less embarrassed myself by chattering for like 10 hours about how much I loved risotto and all the reasons why. I won’t do that to you today. Or will I… Seriously, we’re bringing ALL that good stuff back today. Only we’re also inviting pesto to join the party and stay awhile.

Yep, I went ahead and made the whole pan green. Again. What won’t I green-ify these days?

Superquickie sidenote: I got back from my trip to Topeka late last night and as of this Monday morning it is officially back to the exhausting realms of reality for this girl.

And I’m kinda worried for my coffee supply to be honest…

So I’m fighting those post-spring break blues with cozy risotto and plenty ‘o green and no one shall tell me otherwise.

Guys, tell me you aren’t obsessed with the contents of this entire beyoo-tiful pan. The flavor-PACKED pesto. The soft, sweet cherry tomatoes. ALL that Parmesan perfec-tion. Ooh-boy…

Man, oh man, guys we sure know how to do Monday up right.

If you aren’t properly obsessed yet…here’s the pan. Go to town.