Sunday, May 5, 2013

For those aforementioned people

I really, really like to throw things away. I am the anti-hoarder. The feeling I get from getting rid of things I don't need or use -- whether it means giving pants that don't fit me any longer to my skinny sister, or dropping off an old table to the Goodwill, or even the weekly pile that awaits our fabulous sanitation engineer -- is a real high.

Husband calls it my "trash stiffie." Used properly in a sentence: "Did you see the pile out at the curb today? You are totally gonna get a trash stiffie."

For the past few weeks I've had "ramps" scrawled hopefully on my grocery list. I didn't really expect to find them in any store -- ramps, for the uninitiated, are the wonderfully pungent wild leeks that enjoy a very short season and are most reliably sourced at the forest floor. People who love ramps, love ramps. They are a true sign of spring, peeking up through the detritus of last year's fallen leaves, green heralds of warmer days to come. Our neighbor city of Peninsula even hosts a ramp festival, for those aforementioned people who love ramps. If you want to find them, you best do a little foraging. Or you can get lucky at a local market. If you're lucky. But I wasn't expecting to be lucky this year.

Until last week, when I rounded the corner from the beer aisle at my local Heinen's and saw a pile of ramps, bundled together and arranged just so in a rustic, earthy heap.

I gasped. Audibly.

I believe this is what they call a "ramp stiffie." 


Adapted from Bon Appetit

The original recipe calls for pork sausage, which I am certain would be mighty tasty in this recipe, indeed. However, as Husband eschews pork (and I rarely eat it), I subbed spicy chicken sausage and it was every bit as savory and fabulous.

2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausages (pork, turkey, or chicken), casings removed
16 ramps, trimmed; bulbs and stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
3 c. (or more) chicken or turkey stock
1/2 c. Pecorino, grated, plus more for serving
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

Place the butter in a Dutch oven, and melt it over moderate heat. Add the sausage, and cook until it begins to brown, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, 8-10 minutes. 

Add the sliced ramp bulbs and stems. Saute until almost tender, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. 

Add 3 cups of the stock, one cup at a time, simmering until almost absorbed before the next addition and stirring often. After you've added the entire 3 cups of stock, cook the rice for an additional 18 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is just tender and the risotto is creamy. If, during this 18 minutes, the mixture begins to dry out, add more stock, a little at a time. (My mixture ended up taking about 4 1/2 cups of stock.)

Off the heat, mix in the green ramp tops and the Pecorino. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Technically.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: tomato-water spaghetti
Two years ago: writing about Polish food for the Why CLE? blog
Three years ago: guacamole
Four years ago: honey biscuits
Five years ago: mole Poblano