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Integration Acres Ramp Pasta

June 21, 2013

Have you been down to The Wild Ramp lately?  More than 10 new producers have joined up in the last few weeks, so it’s an exciting time to come down and check us out.

I was browsing some of the new products last week in the market and came across Integration Acres Ramp Tofu Pasta, which sounded interesting.

ramp

First you have to realize that I’m a relative newcomer to West Virginia.  Yes, I grew up in the south, but I had never heard of this famous/ infamous plant called a “ramp”  before I moved here almost 2 years ago.  We had our logo down at The Wild Ramp for almost a year before I saw my first real-live ramp in the market this spring.

My whole family and I are big garlic fans, though, so I delved right in when we started getting ramps this spring.  I made cheddar-bacon-ramp biscuits.  I put ramps on homemade pizzas.  I sauteed them with chard from my garden.  I made ramp cheese sauce for pasta.  I made ramp pesto.  I put ramps in “dirty eggs” with sausage.  And oh, did we fall in love with that uniquely spicy taste.

And then it was gone and there were no more ramps for another year.

That’s the thing about eating locally and seasonally… when it’s in season, you have to enjoy it to the utmost, because when it’s gone, unless it can be preserved, it’s gone.  And I have to admit, that’s the part of eating locally I’m still getting used to.  We’ve all gotten spoiled by the fact we can find grapes or asparagus or tomatoes in the grocery stores any time of the year and we forget to notice that those things just don’t taste the same when they’re not from the farm a few miles away, but are shipped from Chile or Peru.

But– here, out of season, was ramp pasta, available on the shelves of the market!  And given how much the toddler had loved all the ramp experiments (garlic and onions are this boy’s best friends!), I grabbed a package to try.

The Integration Acres Ramp Pasta is tofu pasta, which means it has more protein than “normal” flour and egg pasta.  You also cook it slightly differently.  Basically, you bring the water to a boil, throw in the pasta, let it come back up to a boil, and cover and remove from the heat.  Then you just let it sit for about 10-14 minutes, very similar to how you cook couscous.  At the end of that time, you drain it and it’s ready to eat.  It has a wonderful consistency when it’s cooked- al dente and solid, without being crunchy at all.

I have to admit that the ramp taste of the pasta is very subtle.  It definitely does not have the “bounce-up-and-down-on-your-taste-buds” flair of fresh ramps.  But I realized that meant I could make a really rich alfredo sauce without worrying too much about overpowering the pasta.

Alfredo Sauce- delicious with Integration Acres Ramp Pasta

(altered from an online recipe)pasta

3-4 TBsp butter

2-3 TBsp olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves minced

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese

2/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

I used Snowville Creamery whipping cream for the heavy cream, and Siberian garlic (from a local farmer’s garden last year) for the garlic.  If you’re using regular grocery store garlic, you might want to use more, since the Siberian has more “bite” than grocery store garlic.  I also added the Asiago cheese as a substitution, but I thought it added a certain depth to the sauce.

Melt butter and olive oil together in a heavy sauce pan and saute garlic.  Add cream and pepper, and simmer, stirring often.  Add Parmesan cheese and simmer 8-10 minutes while stirring often.  Add Asiago while stirring, until it fully melts, then mozzarella, and continue to stir until sauce is smooth.  Garnish with parsley.

This alfredo sauce was easy, and absolutely delicious with the Integration Acres Ramp Pasta- since it had enough of a garlic-y taste to bring out the ramp taste in the pasta.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my toddler and husband did!

Katharine Lea is an architect and local food addict who helped open The Wild Ramp just because she wanted to shop there. 

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