05/22/2012 09:33 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Pasta With Ramps And A Light Cream Sauce

You will notice in the photo that there is a small pile of lobster perched atop the pasta. This is not our usual weeknight fare. This is the good fortune of making this dish post-Mother's Day, after we had brought cooked lobsters home for dinner as a treat. Uncharacteristically, there was enough left over to make an appearance in a later meal. Cooked shrimp would also be great, but hardly necessary. Without any seafood, it is simply a lovely spring pasta, and with vegetable broth, a vegetarian one at that.

You can use any pasta you like, but I used gemelli, which is a single "s"-shaped strand twisted into a spiral. Very dense and toothsome, fun to chew and perky on the plate. You can use any other pasta, from straight noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine, to chunkier shapes like rigatoni or small shells.


Kosher salt to taste
1 pound ramps, cleaned and trimmed
1 pound dried gemelli or other pasta
1 cup thickly-sliced roasted tomatoes (see Note)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, plus more to serve

Slice the ramps, separating the slices of the bulb and the thin stem into one pile, and the ribbon-ey slices of the leaves into a different pile (discard any yellowed leaves).

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced bulbs and stems of the ramps, and sauté for about 8 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and stir. Allow to return to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente, according to package directions.

When the ramp bulbs are tender, add the sliced leaves of the ramps, and sauté for another 4 or 5 minutes until everything is wilted and tender. Then add the roasted tomatoes and their juices, chicken broth, and red pepper flakes, and raise the heat to medium high. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth reduces by about half, for about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, salt to taste (go lightly; the cheese is salty, and you can always add more), and heat until just barely simmering.

Meanwhile, when the pasta is done, drain it, and return it to the pot, allowing a little water to cling to the noodles. Add the ramp sauce to the pasta, and stir together over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is very well combined. Add the cheese, and stir to combine. Add more seasonings as necessary.

Serve hot, with extra grated cheese, if desired.