Spring Risotto with Ramps, Asparagus, and Lemon

Well, ramp season has arrived!

What are ramps? You might ask. Well, they are most commonly referred to as wild leeks. They’re oniony, a little garlicky, and a lot delicious. You can basically use them in any situation where you would use a green onion, and much like those, you can eat the entire thing from bulb to leaf. They’re kind of like truffles too in that they are foraged and seasonal – usually making a brief appearance right after winter (whereas truffles are more prevalent during winter). Ramp season doesn’t last very long. So why the hype over these little guys? Maybe it signals the start of Spring…

Now that you’re caught up, here’s what you can do with ramps:

Spring Risotto!

Frittatas!

Salads!

Tacos!

So basically anything with the exception of breakfast cereal. I can’t see that working.

Let’s start with the risotto, shall we? Here’s my biggest pro-tip when it comes to adding green vegetables to a cooking process:

BLANCH THEM OR COOK THEM FOR A FEW MINUTES THEN SET ASIDE AND ADD BACK IN LATER. TOWARDS THE END OF THE RECIPE.

Green vegetables like asparagus can go grey when they’re cooked for too long – you may notice in some of my photos they look darker than the peas. Yea, I messed up and added them a bit too early, so they lost some of their vibrant color. Thankfully they still had a good texture, but if you want your veggies to stay nice and green, add them in at the very end when you’re nearly done with the risotto.

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to risotto:

IT TAKES TIME AND A GOOD AMOUNT OF ELBOW GREASE.

Stirring slowly is the key to a nice, creamy risotto. Add the liquid by the ladle-full and stir until each one is absorbed and the starches release from the rice. Add in the next ladle and continue until it’s done, about 25 minutes. It’s a labor of love.

Last but not least, I think fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese does make a difference in taste, but if you have the pre-grated kind that’s fine too.

Happy Spring!

Spring Risotto with Ramps, Asparagus, and Lemon

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small bunch ramps, cleaned and chopped
  • 6-7 cups Organic chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low. You want to keep the broth warm while you’re adding it to the risotto.
  2. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, add the butter (this is my favorite pan because literally NOTHING sticks to it). When melted, add the asparagus and cook for one minute. Add the ramps and cook for another minute. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add the extra virgin olive oil. When hot, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the salt and a few cracks of pepper.
  4. Add the rice and let it toast with the onions and garlic for a minute or so. Just don’t burn it! Add lemon juice and zest.
  5. Add a ladle of broth and stir slowly into the rice. When all the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle of broth and stir slowly again. Repeat this process until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is cooked through, doubled in size, and has a creamy consistency. This will take about 20-25 minutes and the risotto should absorb 6-8 cups of broth. I used 7.
  6. ย At the end after all the broth is absorbed, add the asparagus, ramps, and frozen peas back into the risotto and stir. Essentially you want to defrost the peas and mix in the veggies. Add the parm cheese and combine. Top with a little more cheese before serving and voila! Spring is served!

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