May 8, 2013

Ramp It Up!

Ramps.  They've been the talk of the town over the last couple weeks around DC, so we were really excited to get them in our share, and see what the fuss is all about.  We searched around, and found a recipe for sausage and ramp risotto that sounded mighty tasty, not to mention we had 95% of the ingredients on hand.  It's not a Paleo-friendly meal, but with the gloomy, rainy weather today, a comforting risotto fit the bill.

You'll want to start by cleaning your ramps.  They have a thin film over the bulbs, similar to a green onion.  You can just peel that off, rinse away any remaining dirt, and slice off the roots.  Then you're ready to go.  We only needed about half for the risotto, so we'll use the remaining ramps for dinner another night.  Woohoo!  So we sliced the entire thing, from bulb to stem to leaf, into thin slices, in preparation for the risotto.

The next step was to melt some butter in a pan, and brown up your sausage.  We used the rest of the mild pork sausage we had left from last week's share.  You'll want to cook this in the same pan that you plan to cook your risotto in.  Once the sausage is cooked through, toss in your ramps.  We also used half of the oyster mushrooms from our share to add a nice, earthy flavor.  While the sausage, ramps and mushrooms were cooking up, I heated our stock in a saucepan.  That way when we are ready to add the liquid to the rice, we're adding warm liquid.
Let everything cook together for about 5 minutes, to let the flavors start to meld together, and so the ramps and mushrooms can cook down.  Then you're ready to add your rice.  Justin prefers to use carnaroli rice, but he couldn't find any at the grocery store, so we settled for arborio.  Dump your rice into the pan, and stir it around so it gets coated in the butter and sausage grease, and so it can toast up a bit.  This gives it some added flavor.  Then you want to add your alcohol.  The recipe calls for vermouth, but we didn't have any on hand.  So we used a combination of marsala wine and sherry cooking wine.  Pour that in, deglaze your pan, and let the rice absorb the liquid.
Now comes the hard labor.  Once the rice has absorbed the liquid, you'll add about a 1/2 cup of stock to your pan while continuing to stir everything.  Once the liquid has been absorbed, add some more.  This cycle of stirring and adding liquid continues for about 30-45 minutes, until the starch has seeped out of the rice, you have a creamy consistency, and the rice is al dente.
Once your rice is al dente and creamy, add in your parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper.  You probably won't need much more salt since the cheese is salty, and there is probably salt in your stock.  So tread lightly.  We did add a touch of truffle salt for that extra umami kick.  Once you've stirred in your cheese, and it's seasoned to your liking, you're ready to serve!

We reserved some of the sliced ramp leaves to garnish our risotto.  They added a fresh, zesty component to the dish.  To accompany our risotto, we made a simple salad using the bibb lettuce, some red onion, carrots, and apple.  It was the perfect comfort food for this rainy day.

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