Risotto with Ramps and Lemon

For years, I’d search the woods around my house (and beyond) for ramps. Ramps are an elusive spring treat—wild leeks that everyone except me seemed to have in abundance. This year while on a golf date I noticed a patch in the woods and finally came home with ramps. Risotto seemed like a spring treat. This is supposed to serve 4, but 2 hungry people cleaned their plates.

Risotto with Ramps and Lemon

  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup ramps (a leek would work if ramps aren’t available) sliced, and white and green parts separated
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer and keep warm.

Heat a Dutch oven or high sided pan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and the white parts of the ramps and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Slightly increase the heat, add the rice, and stir to coat the rice in the butter. Cook for a few minutes until the rice is no longer opaque.

Add the wine to the rice and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed. Season lightly with salt. Add a cupful of broth—enough to just cover the rice (for me it’s about 3/4 -1 cup). Stir and let the rice absorb the liquid before adding more. The rice should be cooking at a low to moderate temperature and slowly simmering. Keep stirring and adding just enough broth to cover the rice. It should take about 15 minutes total. Taste the rice for doneness, it should be a little al dente, but cooked through.

Still cooking, add the rest of the butter, lemon zest and juice. Stir in the ramp greens and season with salt and pepper if needed. Grate some Parmesan into the risotto, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

This was one of those meals where when I tasted the risotto to see if it was okay, my eyes lit up and I’m still thinking about it days later! Just as the risotto was finished cooking, I seared some sea scallops in butter for about 2 minutes a side and topped the risotto with them—heaven!

I added my ramps in 3 stages, first sauteing the whites, then after about 10 minutes, added half the greens and tossed the rest of them in at the end, so there would be some textural difference.

The lemons we’ve had lately have been big and juicy, so I used the zest from a whole lemon, but the juice from only half and that was plenty.

When we run out of ramps, I’ll use leeks, or maybe some green garlic and/or scapes as that comes in season. Even asparagus would be lovely.

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