A slow steady rain was starting- undeterred, we put on our raincoats and water proof hiking boots and set out for a misty early spring hike on the Dark Hollow Trail in Salisbury.
As we walked up the trail, the air was damp and fragrant with pine and rich humus and we saw many early woodland wildflowers peeking hesitantly out of the soil.
Enthralled, we saw the first trilliums of the season!
Fiddlehead ferns were slowly unfurling on their stalks and tiny leaf buds glistened with moisture.
Through the mist from a vantage point high on the trail, we could see a home in the village.
Early spring is the time of year for wild ramps.
I had always heard about ramps and their delicate onion/garlic flavor, but had never tried them. Luckily, our dear friends Thomas and Fran are avid ramp foragers and they offered to take us to harvest ramps from one of their sources.
According to Spruce Eats:
“Ramps–a cousin of onions, leeks, scallions, and shallots–grow in low mountain altitudes from South Carolina to Canada. In many areas, they’re considered a spring delicacy and a reason for celebration. Harvesting ramps has a long tradition in the Appalachian region of the United States, with West Virginia particularly well known for its many festivals and events. Ramp festivals are also held in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. There are many ways to enjoy ramps: raw, sautéed, roasted, grilled, and pickled too.“
On Mother’s Day we set off for a beautiful hike at the New Marlborough Land Trust- then we went off to find ramps at an undisclosed location!
Not far from the side of the road, we came upon a sizeable patch of ramps. Next to a swampy area, thousands of ramp plants were clustered together in the woods. Paul called them a “run of ramps”!
Paul had found a recipe for vegan ramp ravioli from Meatless Makeovers and I decided that this would be a perfect use for our foraged treasures. When we returned home in the late afternoon, I thought I might make the pasta dough and then prepare the filling and form the ravioli the next day. But, after the inspiring walks and ramp adventure with our friends, I found myself full of energy and decided to make the raviolis for dinner. I listened to Stile Antica on Pandora and found myself in cooking heaven.
The original vegan recipe calls for pasta dough made with ground flax seed instead of egg, but I decided to go with rich golden organic egg yolks, a wise decision; the pasta was tender and full of flavor! I also added mushrooms and a few seasonings: dried thyme, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. The flavor of the ramps was just as I had imagined; subtle and delicate and they blended beautifully with the mushrooms and vegan ricotta. I think that you could also make the raviolis with leeks and scallions for a similar flavor.
These are definitely a dish for company. We will serve these soon for a group that includes our favorite ramp foragers!
Wild Ramp and Mushroom Ravioli (almost vegan)
- 3 cloves garlic (Minced)
- 1 bunch ramps (chopped with white stems separated from leaves)* Note
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4- or 5 mushrooms finely chopped
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- Vegan Ricotta ( I used Kite Hill plant based ricotta)
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Kite Hill Vegan Butter and it had a nice flavor, although you could just use unsalted butter)
- 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 15–20 sage Leaves
- 2 Tbsp walnuts (chopped)
- 1 ramp (chopped with white stems separated from leaves)
Ingredients for Pasta Dough
Makes enough dough for 24 ravioli or cappellacci
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
Blend together all dough ingredients in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, incorporating only as much additional flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Dough can be made (but not rolled out) 1 day ahead and chilled, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.
- Prepare the Ramps: Meanwhile chop the ramps completely, separate the chopped leaves from the white ends. Mince the garlic.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Place the chopped white part of the ramp first and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
- Next, add the chopped ramp leaves, mushrooms and the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Making the Ravioli: Once the dough has rested, cut it into 8 equal pieces. Working in batches roll out the dough on a floured surface. Your dough should be about 3mm thick after rolling.
- Dollop 1 tsp vegan ricotta cheese about 3 inches apart along your rolled out dough. Place 1 tsp of the ramp filling onto each dollop of ricotta.
- Place another rolled out piece of dough over the filling piles. Carefully press out any trapped air and seal your ravioli tightly using your finger and cut them out with a knife or with a ravioli cutter. Dust your fresh ravioli with flour and set aside.
- Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Make the sauce: In a skillet over medium/low heat, melt the butter. Stir the butter frequently until it has a slight golden brown color. Approx. 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, white part of the ramps, and the walnuts. Cook stirring constantly until garlic begins to brown. Approx. 3 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, add the ramp greens and sage leaves to the sauce and set aside.
- Once your water is boiling, place a few ravioli into the water at a time. Allow them to boil for 3-4 minutes.
- Serve: Plate the ravioli and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish with red pepper flakes, black pepper, or grated vegan parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Store uncooked ravioli in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- * Note: Make sure to wash ramps very well with plenty of cold water. They are quite gritty! After I washed the ramps, I spun them dry in a salad spinner.
AND: Here is I think, an appropriate “Tree of the Week!”