Recipe of the Week: Quick Fiddlehead and Ramp Pasta
Christa Glennie Seychew
Foraging season is here, and wild ramps, fiddleheads, and asparagus are on the minds of chefs all over our region. This recipe features two of these delicacies—ramps (which we discuss in our May 2011 issue) and fiddleheads. Newbies should be sure to read and learn about foraging's best practices. If you don't have the option of foraging, many local markets have begun carrying these items during their brief season (Lexington Co-op, Guercio's, and Wegmans are your best bets). Worst case scenario, you can sub in some tender asparagus and scallion or chive.
Cleaning freshly foraged fiddleheads requires some effort. I typically soak them in a bowl of cold water, drain them, and then rinse them individually (see photos below). The ramps need less effort. They are cleaned just like a scallion, but in this application you will only need the leaves, so you can refrigerate the bulbs for later use.
Quick Fiddlehead and Ramp Pasta
1 lb fresh fiddleheads (or asparagus)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb linguini
6 oz mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
chiffonade of ramp leaves (or slices scallion/chive)
salt and pepper to taste
Boil heavily salted water for pasta preparation.
Preheat oven to 400°. Toss fiddleheads in olive oil, salt and pepper. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or silicone baking sheet. Place fiddleheads on prepared sheet in single layer. Roast until tender, 7-10 minutes. (This can be done an hour or two ahead of time, with fiddleheads left at room temperature until needed.)
Add linguini until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Stir in mascarpone, Parmesan cheese, and fiddleheads. Toss over medium-low heat until pasta is coated with sauce and mixture is heated through, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time until the sauce is silky and evenly distributed. Toss with fresh lemon zest.
Mound pasta in large shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with chiffonade of ramp leaves.
Fiddleheads fresh from the field
Fiddleheads soaking in cold water
Fiddleheads rinsed and dried