Monday, May 19, 2014

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ramps and Spring Garlic

You know what's great for a Monday night dinner? A dish that takes a minimal amount of time and even less brain power to execute. Because who wants to deal with anything more on a Monday? The good news is that spring makes that kind of cooking a cinch. You've got such a wealth of already-delicious produce cropping up all around you (or at your nearest market), that it's kind of hard not to come up with something great. Case in point: pasta with ramps, which I have made for this second edition of my mini get-'em-before-they're-gone ramps series. Here, I've used really good whole wheat pasta, a heaping fistful of fresh ramps, a couple of bulbs of fresh spring garlic to really up that pungent allium vibe, and a dusting of Grana Padano cheese. If you're feeling bold, you could fry up an egg and throw it on top. Yum.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ramps and Spring Garlic
Serves 4
Coarse salt
1 pound dry whole wheat pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh ramps, white root ends and green leafy tops separated
2 bulbs of spring garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Chunk of Grana Padano cheese for grating

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons salt and return to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, until tender but still al dente.

Heat olive oil in a 12-to-14-inch skillet over medium heat. Add root ends from ramps along with garlic slices to pan and cook, stirring, until tender. Season with red pepper flakes and salt. Add leafy greens from ramps and cook, stirring, until wilted.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss gently to coat pasta with sauce. Divide pasta evenly between 4 warmed plates. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and grate a good helping of cheese on top. Serve immediately.