Sunday Paper Dinner Table: Ramp Top Pasta with Morels and Fiddleheads

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Sunday Paper Dinner Table: Ramp Top Pasta with Morels and Fiddleheads

by FARMER LEE JONES

Photo credit: Yossy Arefi

The Sunday Paper Dinner Table: At The Sunday Paper, we believe in the power of meaningful conversations around the table as a foundation in building a more caring, kinder and compassionate world. We want to inspire you and encourage you to gather virtually at your tables, open your hearts, and open your minds each and every week with the help of our Meaningful Conversation Starter and suggested recipe. Then report back to us and tell us about the experience. Cheers!

Meaningful Conversation Starter

What does ‘having a connection to your food’ mean to you?

 

Ramp Top Pasta with Morels and Fiddleheads

SERVES 2 TO 4

This pasta dish makes use of many fleeting spring ingredients, including ramps, fiddleheads, and morels. In our kitchen, we use a pasta extrude to make semolina pasta using vegetable juices for hydration in beautiful shapes. For home, we offer a hand-rolled pasta recipe that you can make with ramps, or really, many vegetables (see page 599 for the recipe and our extruder method). If you want to make something even simpler, you can use your favorite dried pasta and a d the Ramp Top Puree from page 73.
We also love to add poached basil-fed snails from Mary Stewart (a.k.a. the Snail Lady) in California to this dish. You can buy them at mikuniwildharvest.com. For ease, we left them off here.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 3 to 5 minutes for the fresh pasta depending on the shape.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ramp bulbs in a single layer and cook without moving until well browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the ramp bulbs and cook until the other side is w ll browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fiddleheads and gently toss. Add the mor ls, chive blooms, ramp leaves, peas, and Beurre Maître d’Hôtel. Finally, add the pasta. (If you’re using dried pasta, add the ramp puree at this point as well.) Gently toss everything together until the butter is melted. Transfer to a platter, garnish with the pea tendrils, and serve.

Ramp Top Puree
Maes 1 cup

This simple puree is one you can toss with the spring pasta on page 75 or with white beans. You could also spoon it over a steak. Freeze it for a taste of the season after ramps are long gone.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water. Add the ramp leaves and blanch until bright green, about 5 seconds. Drain and transfer to the ice water. When the ramps are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. Transfer to a high-speed blender, add ½ cup ice water, and blend on high speed until very smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan; use a ladle or spatula to push through as much puree as possible. Set the saucepan over medium heat. When the puree is hot but not simmering, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to incorporate before adding more butter. Remove from the heat and use immediately. The puree refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 6 months.

Vegetable Pasta
Makes about 1 pound fresh pasta.

Making pasta is an amazing way to preserve the essence of you have in abundance. We’re especially fond of making this pasta with ramp tops, one of our favorite fleeting spring ingredients. In our kitchen, we use our Arcobaleno pasta extruder (see Note). Here, we offer a hand-rolled alternative formed into small cavatelli. This dough is extremely versatile, and you can use it for many different pasta shapes. Don’t be afraid to play around.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours.

In a measuring cup, combine the vegetable juice, salt, and olive oil; stir them gently to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the flours and stir them together to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a wo k surface, and knead until it is homogenous and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. (If the dough is sticking, you can flour the surface.

If the dough seems dry, you can sprinkle on a few drops of water at a time and incorporate ) Cover the dough with plastic or place it in a resealable bag, and let rest for 30 minutes.

To form cavatelli, pull off one small piece of dough at a time. On a floured work surface, roll the piece into a rope that’s about ¼ inch in diameter. Slice the rope into ¼-inch pieces. Using two fingers, pull the dough pieces toward you until it flattens in the middle and curls up on either side of your fingers. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and let stand while you form the rest of the dough. Let the pasta stand 30 minutes before cooking.

If you plan to cook the pasta right away, do so in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook for 3 minutes, then taste it every 45 seconds after. Drain when cooked to al dente.

If you prefer to save the pasta, let it stand for 2 hours, until somewhat dry. Then transfer to a resealable bag and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

From The Chef’s Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables—with Recipes by Farmer Lee Jones; with Kristin Donnelly, to be published on 4/27/2021 by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2021 by The Chef’s Garden, Inc.

FARMER LEE JONES

Always in his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to regenerative agricultural, Farmer Lee Jones is a farmer at The Chef’s Garden in Ohio, which his family has owned for decades. Jones and his family are committed to reviving heirloom vegetables and discovering new varieties, while telling stories and educating about sustainable farming. In 2011, Jones was honored with the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, and he has spoken across the country as an expert in regenerative agriculture. His first book is The Chef’s Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables.

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