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Ramp Carnival! Spaghetti with Ramps and Ramp-Infused Olive Oil

It's that time again! All of a sudden, whispers of ramps hit Twitter and of course I could think of nothing else.  I hit the Borough Hall Farmers' Market this past weekend and found ramps at Wilklow Orchards and Rexcroft Farm (Wilklow Orchards had given the Twitterworld the heads up on Friday). 

Though I've enjoyed ramps at such local lovelies as Lunetta in Cobble Hill, I'd never cooked with them, so I bought myself one little bunch and resolved to make the Mario Batali Babbo Spaghetti with Ramps recipe that I've been holding onto since last year. 

And to add a little twist, I thought I'd preserve some of them either by pickling the bulbs or making a confit.  The pickling recipes called for loads more ramps than I wanted to invest in right away, so I went with a ramp confit recipe from The Improvisational Cook.  I've had this book around for years, but haven't done much with it.  Now I will - I definitely love the approach.  Take a basic recipe and play with it any number of different ways to get exciting new dishes. 

Because I just had my little bunch of ramps, there are not so many bulbs in my confit, but I was able to infuse about 16 ounces of extra virgin olive oil.  This seems reasonable to me since it is meant to be kept in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and not to be preserved long term.

When I had finished with the infusion, I sauteed some bread crumbs (1 slice of diced whole wheat bread) in just a bit of the infused oil, a nod to the Amateur Gourmet's recent post on bread crumbs and croutons.  I boiled up some spaghetti and sauteed the thin white/purple stems of my ramps in regular olive oil with some chili pepper flakes.  Once the spaghetti was ready, I tossed it in the skillet and added the ramp greens to wilt.  I drizzled a touch more infused oil over the pasta, cracked some black pepper and grated a touch of pecorino, finishing things off with a good sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

The result: light, spring-infused and satisfying.  Love!

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