Originally aired April 23, 2012
- 2 bunches ramps (wild leeks) or 4-5 medium leeks
- 3 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 to 4 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red chili pepper, such as Fresno chili pepper, finely chopped
- Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound spaghetti or lemon spaghetti (Buon Italia sells lemon spaghetti)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese, plus some to pass at table
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley and mint combined, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
Soak ramps to remove grit, trim roots and cut the ramps across where the whites meet the green tops. Finely chop the whites. Chop greens into 1-inch pieces.
If you are using leeks, trim tough tops and roots, slice the leeks lengthwise and slice 1/2-inch pieces.
Heat EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat, add whites of ramps or leeks, garlic, chili pepper, lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, stir 5-6 minutes then add wine, reduce heat to low.
Season pasta water with salt and boil pasta to al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy cooking water just before draining.
Raise heat on sauce again to medium and add lemon juice. Melt in butter, add starchy water and Pecorino, toss with spaghetti and green ramp tops to combine. Serve in shallow bowls with more cheese, parsley and mint on top.