Now that ramps are starting to show up in markets (soon to be replaced by less weedy crops like asparagus)—so what to do with them? While Dirt Candy's Amanda Cohen wasn't interested in sharing any recipes with us Mario Batali and Elena Balletta (of Counter) were. So if you've been itching to try your hand a ramp pasta, or even better, ramp cornbread, read on!

One of the more common ramp dishes we've been seeing on menus is a ramp pasta (pictured to the right is a delicious variation on the theme from L'Artusi), which is not very hard to make. Here's Mario Batali's version, which has been known to pop up at some of his establishments:

Spaghetti with Ramps
Recipe Courtesy of Mario Batali

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti or linguini
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh ramps
  • 1-2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Directions
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the spaghetti to the pot and cook according to the package direction, until tender but still al dente.

Heat olive oil in a 12-14 inch sauté pan over medium high heat. Separate ramps by the white root ends and the leafy green top. Add root ends to the pan and sauté until tender. Add salt and chilli flakes. At the very end, add the greens and sauté until wilted. Drain pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Toss gently to coat the pasta with the sauce.

Divide pasta evenly among four warmed plates. Drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Makes 4 Servings

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Meanwhile, for a more adventurous take on ramps, Elena Balletta's Spring Ramp Cornbread has us drooling:

Spring Ramp Corn Bread
Recipe courtesy of Chef Elena Balletta, Counter Restaurant

Note: This recipe is dairy and egg-free. Ener-G egg replacer can be purchased at most groceries carrying natural food products.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspon kosher salt
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer
  • ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 cup olive or canola oil
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 ramps, raw, grilled, or sauteed, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Directions
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, chili powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In small mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk egg replacer and warm water.

Place sugar and egg replacer mixture in large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Slowly add oil in steady stream, until incorporated.

Add boiling water in a slow, steady stream.

In two applications, fold in flour mixture until incorporated. Fold in ramps and jalapeno.

Grease muffin tins. Scoop batter into each well, filling just about ¾ of the way.

Set oven temperature to 350F. For large muffins, bake 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until skewer inserted comes out clean, and muffins slightly golden. (For mini muffins, bake 10 minutes, rotate, and bake another 10-12 minutes, until skewer comes out clean, and muffins slightly golden).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 8 muffins or 24 mini-muffins.

Does all this talk of ramps make you want to throw back a stiff drink? Don't worry! There's a ramp cocktail too. For $12 you can purchase a "Three Two Three" at 'inoteca liquori, which features rosemary-infused Hendrick's gin, pineapple, fresh ramps, reduced balsamic vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice.