Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Salt Pork
Pasta with Ramp Pesto and Salt Pork

Ramp Pesto with Pasta and Salt Pork

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June 3, 2017

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Allium tricoccum (commonly known as ramps, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic is a North American species of wild onion. They have a very unique scent that’s a cross between garlic and leeks. Some people confuse ramps for leeks, but this coveted spring gem is even greater than a leek. It’s a perennial wild onion that has to be foraged.

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • 20 mins

    20 mins

    40 mins

  • Yields: 4 servings


2/3 can olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 oz. cured salt pork cut in to small cubes (may substitute thick cut bacon)

2 bunches ramps. Greens cutt from the bulbs and bulbs thinly sliced


1/3 cup roasted pistachios, divided

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

black pepper, freshly ground

12 oz. rigatoni or linguine

3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, room temperature


Making the Pesto

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook salt pork or bacon, tossing often, until browned and crisp. Transfer to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet.

Add ramp bulbs to the skillet, season with salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Blanch the ramp greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 10-15 seconds. Transfer greens to a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon. Drain, squeeze out excess water and coarsely chop. Save the pot of hot water.

Puree the ramp greens, ramp bulbs, half the pistachios and remaining 2/3 cups of oil in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and process until the pesto is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the Pasta

Return the pot of water you're reserved, to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Using tongs, transfer pasta to a large bowl.

Assembling the dish

Mix pesto, 1/4 cup of the pasta water and butter in a large bowl. Pour over the pasta and mix well. Add salt pork or bacon, toss vigorously. Add more pasta water if needed until the pasta is well coated and glossy. Salt to taste.

Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and the remaining pistachios. Serve family style in a large bowl.