Wednesday Dinner: Orecchiette With Ramps and Sausage

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Ramps season has come to its untimely close. Untimely only because I discovered them so late in the season. Let’s be clear, I whiffed on this for 2014 and years prior, and will be on these with vigor next spring.

My last batch of ramps came courtesy of Monarch Farms, a non-certified organic farm in Scott, N.Y. that sets up shop in the C Shed at the Regional Market. I usually find myself buying greens, namely chard, from Monarch once the summer harvest is in full swing. The ramps, though, were a nice offering by these guys.

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Ramps seem like a perfect marriage for sausage. The  flavor complements the spice from the sausage well, but they are mild enough where they don’t overtake the meat like an onion might.

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WHAT WORKED: I used Nichols Supermarket sweet Italian sausage. The original from Food52 calls for spicy Italian.  Nichols’ sweet is has a lot of fennel and other herb flavor without the heat. A solid effort.

WHAT DIDN’T: Cleaning the ramps. This batch was extra dirty and was a pain in the ass to clean. Otherwise, that was it.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: The Wife had a long week at work and didn’t really talk about dinner.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Sadly, not until Spring 2015.

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Orecchiette With Ramps and Sausage
Adapted from Merrill Stubbs’ original at Food52

  • Kosher salt
  • 2
 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2
 lbs. Italian sausage, bulk or patties, or links with casings removed
  • 1/2
 lb. ramps, cleaned thoroughly, roots trimmed, and white bulbs and green leaves separated
  • 1
 lb. orecchiette
  • Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

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Finely slice your ramp bulbs and set aside. Pick through the ramp leaves and discard any tough stems and leaves, or any discolored leaves. Stack the leaves, cut along the spine of the leaf to create two stacks, then chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat a large pot of water to a boil, add kosher salt then pasta. Cook the pasta per the manufacturer’s directions.

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In the meantime, add sausage to a large skillet and brown over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, for 5 minutes. Add the ramp bulbs to the sausage, stirring them to combine. The ramps should soften after 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the leaves and cook 1 minute, until they just wilt. If your pasta has more time to cook, turn the burner off and let the pan sit over the hot burner.  Otherwise…

Reserve one cup of pasta water before draining the pasta and add to the skillet, stirring it into the sausage and leeks over medium heat.

Toss pasta with the sausage, sprinkle a liberal amount of Romano cheese over the top and serve immediately.

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