black truffle risotto with ramps and peas
Spring — this most wonderful time of year where everything and everyone wakes up from a long, hard winter. This year spring has been reluctant, a tease here and there, but old man winter wasn’t quite ready to release his grip. But the earliest reward of spring nonetheless broke through the finally thawed ground in the woods behind my house — ramps! Their botanical name is Allium tricoccum. If you don’t know what ramps are, you are not alone. Until I moved here 8 years ago I had never heard of them either. A friend kindly pointed out the rich patch behind my house that I was lucky to have so close. Ever since, I have always eagerly awaited the unmistakable green shoots coming out of the brown earth. There are usually 2 very short weeks during which you can enjoy these wild leeks, as they are also called. Their taste and aroma is a cross between garlic and leek. As far as I know, the only way to find ramps is wild, and they like to grow in shaded woods in the Northeast. Farmers markets around here often sell them. They have gained popularity in the last decade or so, and unfortunately have been over-harvested in several areas. Sustainable harvest of ramps is very important, and you can find more information about that in the green “How is this sustainable?” box below.
I have used them in many different ways over the years, such as a pesto, or as a substitute for leeks in a leek and goat cheese galette, and most recently a quiche. Yesterday’s risotto resulted primarily from my realization that the ramps will be gone soon — as soon as everything else starts growing they quickly go back into hiding. And they really were at their peak this time. In this case, I had a prepackaged arborio rice with black truffle as the base, but you can easily add parsley and black truffle to regular arborio rice to recreate it.
Yield: 5 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 tablespoons black truffles
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (or dried)
4 tablespoons butter (divided)
15-16 fresh ramps
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 bag frozen organic peas
1/4 cups parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
How is this sustainable ?
The most sustainable aspect here is the use of foraged ramps. In my case, I am lucky enough to have a patch on my own property.
Sustainable harvest of wild ramps is extremely important, and this site does a fantastic job going into every detail you should know.
Additionally, I used organic peas and chicken broth, and did a service to humankind by using up some more of the terrible bottle of Crane Lake Chardonnay.
- Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer.
- Wash and trim ramps.
- Separate leaves and bulbs and cut them into small pieces.
- Chop up parsley.
- In a separate saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté cut up ramp bulbs for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the arborio rice and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add white wine and cook over low heat until most of the liquid is gone.
- Begin adding the chicken broth one ladle at a time, continually stirring the risotto while cooking.
- Keep adding a ladle of broth every time the liquid is almost absorbed by the rice.
- Once all the liquid has been added, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, peas, ramps, parsley and black truffles.
- Add freshly grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.