ramp risotto

May 8th, 2008 · 52 Comments

i just read that ‘nothing piques the passion of the seasonally obsessed chef like ramps‘.  they have a short season and a cult following, and rightly so.  these baby wild leeks boast a sweet but complex taste that falls somewhere between onions and garlic only much better.  much much better…

and hey, lest i digress…  could someone out there explain the whole fiddlehead fern phenomenon.  like what is the big deal?  i’ve had them prepared numerous ways by those in the know, and in a word?  meh.  with a capitol, meh.  so when ff’s show up, the only real good news is that then it must also be ramp season.  and that right there? that is something to get excited about.  so much so that i hereby declare ramps the new black.  that’s how much i love them.  which is a lot.

while some of you are out there foraging for your ramps, nettles, morels and ff’s, let it be known that i am sans poison ivy and tick free.  i’m home drinking a glass of wine and clicking the ‘buy it now’ button on ebay where i am declared a winner of 50 freshly harvested ramps, and ebay sincerely congratulates me.  i toast my good fortune to the food gods and put up my feet, pleased that ebay recognizes my winning ways.  it may be true that i’ve just spent $11 and increased my carbon footprint, wheras the foragers got both their ramps and their lyme disease for free… but i’m ok with all of this.  because first and foremost i am a winner.

so thank you seller camper750.  they were just beautiful…

see?  ramp perfection… at my door in no time flat.  the bowl was ebayed too, but from last year.

the plan was to make a perfect risotto.  i came across a ny magazine recipe from 2005 of famed chef scott conant, from when he was at l’empero in nyc.  i immediately knew that this was what i was looking for.

ramp risotto
adapted from scott conant (
soon to be at ‘scarpetta‘)

i doubled this recipe and it worked out beautifully.  i used carnaroli rice but i am sure any risotto rice would work fine.  i substituted my veal stock for the chicken and well, i highly recommend this if you can…

5 T extra-virgin olive oil
10 ramps
1 shallot, ?nely chopped
1 t of red-pepper ?akes
1 cup
vialone nano rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth, simmering in separate pot on stove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
salt to taste

in a wide, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  

finely chop ramp greens and stalks, reserving greens for later. add shallot, ramp stalks, and pepper ?akes, and stir until the shallot is translucent, about two minutes. add rice to pot and cook over medium heat for two minutes, stirring to coat rice with oil.  

pour in 1/4 cup of the wine and boil until almost absorbed; a little liquid should remain on top of the rice. add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot broth at a time, stirring the rice constantly until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. add another 1/4 cup of stock, the remaining wine, and a tablespoon of olive oil, continuing to stir.  

add the ramp greens and more stock as needed and continue cooking and stirring until the risotto looks creamy but is still al dente, about 20 minutes. remove from heat and let the risotto stand for about 30 seconds. add a drizzle of olive oil, butter, and cheese; stir until well combined. season with salt. makes 4 first-course portions.

to serve with the risotto, i roasted a chicken alla ‘zuni cafe’ style, except i stuffed the cavity with lemon and limes, something i’d never done before.  i think the citrus caused some steam in an otherwise very dry oven environment, making the chicken perhaps less crisp but amazingly flavorful.  i buy only small chickens – no more than 3.25 lbs – and roast at 475 f for 45 minutes.

the trussing technique was "unique" and could not be repeated for any price.  but you can rest assured that bird wasn’t going anywhere.

this risotto was a first class wow.  to be honest, we kind of couldn’t get over just how good it was.  throughout the day it was eaten by 5 people and it greatly influenced their opinion of me.  ramps are an impressive ingredient.  they’re so many things all at once.  if you missed them this year, try to make it a point for next.

although i do believe camper750 still has some available.  act fast and you too could be a winner…

Tags: greens · risotto

52 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kate // May 9, 2008 at 12:00 am

    The risotto looks divine. I will definitely have to try this…

  • 2 Rachel // May 9, 2008 at 12:15 am

    holy **** that sounds amazing, Claudia!

  • 3 Kitt // May 9, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Ramps on eBay? Whodathunkit! But I love it. What made you look for them there? (On the other hand, I just found a source of raw goat milk on craigslist.)

    Nice presentation, too.

  • 4 Laura @ Hungry and Frozen // May 9, 2008 at 1:13 am

    That looks seriously beautiful. I love a good, simple risotto. I’m almost certain that we can’t get ramps here in New Zealand so it’s getting tough seeing everyone rave over them but…we have feijoas! Ha!

  • 5 Traci @ Soup of The Day // May 9, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Never even heard of these. I’m going to visit camper750 right now.

  • 6 june2 // May 9, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Ramps on ebay, wow. So funny! Carbon footprint notwithstanding, it’s pretty genius of camper570 to sell them that way. And you, to find them! Did someone tip you off, or what?

    You’d think the local farmer’s market would have them though.

  • 7 amy @ minimally invasive // May 9, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Oooooh, fancy styling! Love it, and this sounds delicious, as always. But maybe I should end my quest for fiddlehead ferns — sad.

  • 8 lucy // May 9, 2008 at 6:52 am

    “nothing piques the passion of the seasonally obsessed chef like ramps”

    you’re such a food geek. 😉

  • 9 Mary Coleman // May 9, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Why are you worried about your pics? They are fabulous. This looks and sounds divine.
    A+ as usual.

  • 10 MichaelG // May 9, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I thought Carol showed everybody how to tusk a chicken.

  • 11 CeeElCee // May 9, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Marking my Outlook Calendar for April 2009, “Note to self: buy ramps. Or do something nice for Claudia to get invited over for dinner.”

  • 12 Peter // May 9, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Outstanding. Sounds perfect. The S&M chicken looks great.

    I also don’t get the fiddle head thing, but I ordered a ton of ramp bulbs and planted them in March. If I can resist eating them all, they’ll come back every spring.

  • 13 Vincent // May 9, 2008 at 9:21 am

    just got some this morning from my stoner farmer…

  • 14 fluffernutter // May 9, 2008 at 9:25 am

    I’ve never understrood why people insist on raw ramps –cooking is the way. These look good and I love the idea of buying them on eBay.

  • 15 Robert // May 9, 2008 at 9:37 am


    So thats what theyre called. Got shipped a load of these instead of the Garlic sets I order one year, thought they were mutant Garlic.

    This is what was used in the first experimental White Oyster Lasangna. Tons of them. Made it many times since, but its never been like the first time.

    Knew there was a reason to hang around with you.

  • 16 We Are Never Full // May 9, 2008 at 10:07 am

    these pictures are so creative.

    i feel like a reverse-snob b/c i just am sooooo cheesed out by the whole morels/fiddlehead/ramp obsession. i actually want nothign to do w/ any of them until the hype just calms the F down. i’m sure it’s all delcious and it’s seasonal and blah blah… but i am just sick of seeing them all everywhere.

    but this post has calmed my nerves a bit on ramps. your creative photos and lack of going onnnnn and onnnnn and ON about their amazingness/awesomeness/fuckability factor has been noted. this is why i love your blog.

    am i in a bad mood today? maybe!

  • 17 Julie // May 9, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I never see ramps for sale at my farmers’ market but ebay? I never thought of looking there. Too genius. Now I’m wondering what else I can find on ebay.

  • 18 Emily // May 9, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Wow, your photo is incredible! Do you have a favorite mushroom recipe? We’re having a contest and mailing the winner 2 lbs. of fresh morel mushrooms. If so … please submit it to http://marxfoods.com (contest link is under the Kobe burger photo). Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • 19 RecipeGirl // May 9, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Ebayed ramps, huh? How cool!!

  • 20 jim voorhies // May 9, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Tennessee has a Ramp Festival every year held in Cosby, TN, up in the East TN mountains. This year was the 55th festival.


  • 21 Lesley // May 9, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    I tellyawhut, I learned a lot from this post. Wonder how the risotto would be with vegetable stock…not that I have the time to make it, but it’s the thought that counts…

  • 22 ruhlman // May 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    holy tusking, claudia, you are not giving that chicken even a hope of getting away.

  • 23 melissa // May 9, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    oh damn woman. hehehe. this is too funny. I’ve been seeing people talk about ramps for the last month or so. of course, me, constantly learning, I didn’t know what they were and had to research them and read about them. then I knew I had to make them. but where to find them?

    well, guess what? I have 50 ramps on their way to me right now from camper750. I got the last ones, as far as I could tell.

    true story. :)

    hadn’t thought to try them in a risotto. actually, I have no clue whatsoever what I am going to do with them. but I didn’t want to let them slip by either.

  • 24 FrenchLaundryatHome // May 9, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    That chicken looks tusk-tastic. Don’t listen to those nay-sayers.

  • 25 Stephanie // May 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Oh mmmmmyyyyyyyy…..ramp risotto?!?!?! I’m sooo making this with my ramps this weekend (I am also tick free as I am getting mine from Farmer Randy…not sure about his tick status though).

  • 26 evil chef mom // May 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    i love those picture! i have never seen a ramp for sale around here. i really like to have some.

  • 27 Donald // May 10, 2008 at 2:32 am

    I have never had ramps, but that will change in the upcoming weeks. They sound delicious! After I get back from Philly, I will be making this risotto.

    Great pix Claudia!

  • 28 nina // May 10, 2008 at 9:14 am

    What an informative post. It is a new herb to me. Lovely photos too.

  • 29 lifeinrecipes // May 10, 2008 at 10:18 am

    How did you even think to look for ramps on ebay?
    Although I do get my vanilla beans there. Love the risotto pics.

  • 30 Kevin // May 10, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    That ramp risotto looks good. I have never had ramp. I will have to look for some!

  • 31 Vicky // May 10, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Such an interesting post. The risotto and chicken look gorgeous. Beautiful photos.

  • 32 diva // May 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    i’ve never had ramp but loads of people have been making stuff with it since it’s the season for ramp. i gotta go get some. and love that picture, it’s very cool 😉

  • 33 Diana // May 10, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for bravely speaking out on the fiddlehead fern phenomenon.

    The picture with the risotto on the ramp leaf is so beautiful!

  • 34 Joltin' Django // May 10, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Jim Voorhies is correct. There’s an annual Ramp Festival in East Tennessee and I haven’t missed one in ten years.

    Now if you ever go to the Ramp Festival, be sure to call ’em “raymps.” Say “ramp,” as in “stamp,” and you’ll risk being pegged a Yankee. Folks in East Tennessee don’t cotton to no Yankees, I can assure you.

    (That chicken looks plum tasty, I tell you what.)

  • 35 naomi // May 11, 2008 at 2:12 am

    You really are a winner! I’ve never heard of ramps and wonder if they are called something different in the UK? hmmm will have to investigate as I’m a big fan of anything allium.

    As for the tiny bondage chicken – it looked pretty good too. I always stuff the cavity with lemon and a couple of fresh Bay leaves, but I generally save my used lemon/lime halves ater squeezing and maybe just squeeze a little over the top of the chicken before it goes in. You still get the flavour but with crisp skin.

    x x x

  • 36 aforkfulofspaghetti // May 11, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Fabulous. Particularly love your first photo!

  • 37 Kim // May 11, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Wow Claudia, I am so impressed. And to think you bought these on ebay. Learn something every day! Great photos, and I must try them now. Smart thinking as 4 of my family members have Lyme disease. They live in Lyme of all places.

  • 38 Brittany // May 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Wow- I had no idea that you could buy produce on ebay. That kind blew my mind. But last I checked, ramps were 30 bucks a pound from Charlie’s and I’m afraid if ticks.
    Ebay is probably the smartest way to go.

  • 39 joycooks // May 11, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Hey Claudia,

    I have never had ramps, but I had a tick on me recently. Yuk. But I came home with fresh lettuces and watercress from the country. It’s worth the lyme disease to eat just-picked stuff growing in the woods. Now if only I knew how to hunt for mushrooms. Love your photos, as usual.

  • 40 Stephanie // May 11, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    I am the master of the cooking universe! All others must bow to my risotto making skills! I just made this (I added oyster mushrooms and used red onions instead of shallots) and it came out soooo good! And yes, I did make my own stock!

  • 41 merle // May 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm


    Love the blog—I’m thinking cookbook of some kind—like maybe how to buy interesting things like ramps etc. send me your email…great seeing you,


  • 42 democommie // May 11, 2008 at 9:24 pm


    I don’t think, based on the comments in this thread that ramps are the “new black”; I think they’re the “new FM pumps”! I’ve never had them or fiddleheads, mainly because they’re not easy to find and I go for easy to find most days.

    One of my buddies came to visit ( he brought his daughter out to attend a girlfriend’s wedding) and he got the “guest suite” (an air mattress on the kitchen floor). He’s done a fair amount of renovation in his time and about all he could say was, “holy shit, if you finish this, it will be nice!” But he loved the neighborhood and the area.

  • 43 Becky And The Beanstock // May 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Embarrassing but true: I had ramps for the first time ever about a month ago. It was sitting pretty with a dab of goat cheese and a candied pecan held out in its delicate palm. The flavor took me totally by surprise, and it’s rare when food can do that.

    My paltry excuse for having never tasted one before is that I’m not an onion fan. I know, calling it an onion is like calling a plantain a banana. Clearly I didn’t know. Now I do, and now I’m becoming obsessed. Ebay, you say?

    Thanks for the lovely risotto, too. Can’t wait to try this.

  • 44 J for Kitchen Confit // May 12, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Claudia – This sounds wonderful. I spotted some ramps this weekend at Whole Foods, and have been trying to decide what to make with them. I think this recipe might be exactly what I am looking for. Thanks!!

  • 45 maybelles mom // May 13, 2008 at 6:38 am

    We are making the most of ramps at our house with kimchi, pickles (great on hot dogs), vodka, oil, etc, etc. But, we haven’t done risotto–yum.

  • 46 PeterMarcus // May 13, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Hah, my chickens are never trussed the same way twice. But, as long as everything is compact and I use somewhat less than 8 feet of twine, I’m happy.

    I’m going ramp crazy over here. No local store sells it (mid-Florida beach-side) because there’s no demand. I’m going to hit Whole Foods in Orlando this weekend, and I’m making all sorts of excuses that, no, I’m not really going to drive an hour each way and burn a million dollars in gas just to buy weeds I used to mow over when I was younger.

  • 47 Ethel // May 14, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Although not a fancy cook I appreciate good food . I so enjoy your honesty in writing and sense of humor, Plus I thought the photo of the ramp was divine. I will now never buy a big chicken again, and believe it or not will buy some ramps in honor of cook eat fret.

  • 48 BK // May 18, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    This looks like it tastes great. Yum

  • 49 mari // May 20, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Those ramps are just beautiful (as is the bowl), thanks for sharing because I’d never seen any before!

  • 50 yveala // May 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    never heard of or tasted these, but they look great. i’ll look for them next year.
    and, you’re photos look terrific

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