Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Friday, May 3, 2013

ramp pesto pasta & balsamic-roasted tomatoes

    ramp pesto – makes 1 cup
  • 1 bunch of ramps
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 small mint leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

    balsamic-roasted tomatoes
  • 10 large cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste

    whole dish
  • 1/2 cup ramp pesto
  • 10 balsamic roasted tomatoes
  • 8 oz quinoa or brown rice pasta

Ramps are an intriguing root, balancing the sharp flavors of onion and garlic in a scallion-like body. My favorite savory flavor, with limitless possibilities. So after waffling over how to use it (savory pancakes? bruschetta? just pickled?), I pinned down the idea of pesto pasta. Not only is the recipe simple to make, but I can use it on everything. Pasta. Eggs. A slab of thick sourdough. The pungent spread spices up anything in a beautiful way.

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Although I had my mind set on making pesto, I observed different restaurant menus for inspiration. This past weekend my boyfriend and I wandered into Buvette, where I tried a glorious tartine. Over thick slabs of crusty bread reigned a decadent, walnut mint pesto. I tried not to grab every piece with all ten fingers, and I’m sure my boyfriend appreciated the minor show of self-control. (Right, silverware.) The flavor was so rich I almost drowned, but I bobbed back up with a spike of mint in every bite. I really liked that brightening contrast. Remembering how mint lifted up the dish, I added a few leaves to the ramp pesto experiment. Success! The heavy garlic and onion flavor lightened with just a few leaves. (If you don’t have any at home, the dish still tastes great without.)

Buvette over in West Village

Buvette over in West Village

Buvette over in West Village

Along with the mint in the pesto, I added a bunch of roasted cherry tomatoes to the pot. Again, I love pesto, but it’s a bit rich on its own. A fresh squirt of fruit evens out the dish’s heaviness. Additionally, roasting the tomatoes heightens their sweetness, while adding balsamic adds a good twinge of tang. Or as we say in the South, twang. (Ha, just kidding.)

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

A word to the wise, just watch out for timing as these tender plants don’t stay around for long! Ramps have a crazily limited seasonality. If you happen to run out of them at the market, try replacing ramps with ripe scallions and garlic. The impact will be heavier, but you’ll still heartily enjoy the pesto and overall dish.

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

I shared this with y’all and Pure Potluck Party, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, and Tasty Traditions.

So here we go!

Ramp Pesto Pasta

1. Bring lightly salted pot of water to boil. Add pasta, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until al dente (about 6-8 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. Slice off the end of each ramp’s base, removing and discarding the roots (for compost!). Dice the green leaves and pinkish stems in 1/2 inch pieces. Crush the garlic.

3. Combine the ramps, garlic, nuts, lemon, and mint in a food processor until chunky. Add in the olive oil in three phases, processing the mix in between. Eventually you should have a creamy, delicious paste. Salt to taste. Combine with the fresh pasta.

Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise, so the stem is on one side by itself. With the cut side up, place the halves on an oiled baking pan (or cast-iron skillet). Rub in the fresh thyme leaves, then evenly drizzle on the balsamic. Lightly salt. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the skins pucker and darken.

2. Eat right out of the oven, or combine with the ramp pesto pasta. Either way, enjoy!

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  1. Kat
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    This is my first visit to your website. Your Ramp Pesto Pasta and Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes recipe looks delicious! Thank you so very much. Off to look around the rest of your site!

    • admin
      Posted August 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for reading, Kat! Have a great rest of the week. :)

  2. Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Hello gorgeous blog and photos and gorgeous lady!
    I love this dish so much and your scrumptious words about pesto makes me crave some right now! 😉

    Thank you so much for sharing this dish at the last Pure Potluck Party!

    (my only apology is for not coming by sooner to thank you – it’s just been a few crazy weeks!)

    Loving your blog and recipes!
    Sending big hugs,

    • admin
      Posted June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Ella! So great to hear. I love your blog as well!

  3. Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure my first comment went through. If not, your recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing it at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

    • admin
      Posted May 15, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Linda! Hope you enjoy it.

  4. Posted May 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Once in a while I come across a picture (or pictures) that make me feel…warm, centered, nostalgic, happy! There is just something very energizing about this post for me. Your pictures are stunning. I’ve never heard of ramps. That second picture is just beautiful. I could frame that! There is something about that restaurant picture that is very warm to me…very calming. It must be churning up some great memories and thus feelings.

    Anyway, I want to thank you for this post and I WILL be making this dish very soon. As a dedicated pesto LOVER, I adore your addition of mint to the recipe. Brilliant.

    Thank you for sharing and I will be featuring this recipe on AFW. :-)

    Be Well,

    • admin
      Posted May 15, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks for such a sweet note. It was a warming and fun post to make.

      Have a great rest of the week, Amber! :)

  5. Posted May 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    YUM!!! This looks like a wonderful creation.
    Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist at Back to the Basics. Hope to see you again tomorrow!

    • admin
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Mary! I love Tuesdays with a Twist.

  6. Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Lovely photos! And those balsamic tomatoes sound awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, I’ve pinned it.

    • admin
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Danielle. :) Have a great week!

  7. Posted May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Looks wonderful! LOVE the tomatoes – there! I can almost taste them thru the screen!

    • admin
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      That’s awesome!

  8. Hoyd Breton
    Posted May 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    As delicious as it is photogenic.

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