Pick them while you can! Ramps (called wild garlic or ramsoms in Europe and ‘daslook’ here in the Netherlands) are growing abundantly in forests under trees now in The Hague. On my daily walk, I cannot resist harvesting some to cook with. The garlicky greens disappear as fast as they arrive (they are only available a few weeks every year) so enjoy them while they last.
Until recently, picking ramps in the Netherlands was illegal, which I never quite understood, for ramps grow like weeds. Just harvest the leaves by cutting them off with a pocket knife and let the bulbs be (this way the plant grows back next year). Also, make sure you pick the right ones. Ramps look a lot like the poisonous Lily-of-the-Valley, so don’t mix them up (click here to see the difference). An important difference: the leafs of ramps smell like garlic (tear one up)!
Ramps are a real treat. This very easy recipe is a favorite of my husband HP. He makes it year round with different veggies. Right now, when ramps are in season, he uses sautéed ramps. Once sautéed, they have the texture of spinach, but also more taste.
Tortellini with ramps, sage, and brown butter
- 150 g / 5.5 oz ramps leafs and stems, washed thoroughly
- 40 g / 1.5 oz unsalted butter
- 8 fresh sage leafs
- zest of ½ lemon (plus some lemon juice, if you like)
- 1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 200-250 g / 7-9 oz fresh tortellini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- some ramp flowers optional
- Bring a large pot with salted water to a boil. Slice the ramp leafs into ribbons, cut the stems into pieces.
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Put the sage leafs in the hot butter and let them cook gently until they start to brown and look crispy. The butter will be brown and fragrant by now (do not let the butter burn!). Remove the pan from the heat. With a fork, remove the leafs from the pan. Let them drain on kitchen paper.
- Let the butter cool off for several minutes (don't skip this step). Then whisk in the lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, and a good pinch of salt.
- Cook the tortellini in the boiling water according to the instruction on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the ramps (leafs and stems) very, very briefly, until they are just starting to wilt. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain the tortellini, add them to the ramps together with the brown butter. Inmmediatly divide the pasta over deep plates and top with the crispy sage leafs, grated Parmesan, and, if you like, ramp flowers. Grind over some fresh black pepper, and squeeze over some lemon juice, if you like.
Hungry for more?
Check out my other recipe with ramps: Pasta with Ramp Pesto.