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Pasta with Clams, Ramps and Fava Beans
A simple purée of ramps and olive oil (similar to a pesto but without the pine nuts, cheese or basil) gives this dish its vibrant green color, kick and flavor
- 1 bunch ramps, about 8 stalks) root end trimmed
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- scant teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning and pasta
- 1 pound pasta of choice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 dozen clams, as small and tender as possible, shells scrubbed
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup shelled and peeled fave beans
- black pepper
Combine all but the purple/white end of one ramp and olive oil in the jar of a blender. Whiz until smooth, a few specks of green will most likely remain. Season with salt and whiz just to mix. Transfer purée to a jar with a lid.
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Drain pasta and set aside. Return pasta pot to a low heat. Add butter. Finely chop reserved ramp and sweat in melted butter until just soft. Stir in 4 tablespoons of ramp purée and cook just a minute or two. Add clams, white wine and reserved cooking liquid. Increase heat, cover and cook until clams open, about 8 minutes. Add fava beans and cook 2 minutes more. Return pasta to pot, toss and cook just until piping hot - a minute or so. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a tad more purée and drizzle olive oil while serving.
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We cheated and used the left over brine from a favorite jar of dilly beans. Trim, rinse and chop one bunch of ramps. Transfer to a small bowl or jam jar and cover with brine. Let stand refrigerated for at least 8 hours before using- over night is better. Serve with Deviled Eggs- simply made with just mayo, touch of dijon and lots of salt and pepper.
If you don't have pickle juice in your fridge simply make a brine that's 1 part white vinegar (or cider vinegar, whatever you have), 3 parts water. Then throw in salt, sugar, some peppercorns, dill seed or fresh dill if you have on hand and some mustard seeds.