I won’t be having this dish any other way again.
Actually, the last time I had it/made it was a year ago, last Spring, when we had a couple of weeks we could find ramps in Texas. No, i wasn’t foraging around for them; I found them at my neighborhood SUPERmarket Central Market. Expensive but sold by weight, I spent 8 bucks on ramps, enough for a pound of fettucine. Not bad, I say.
Ramps, those flimsy pungent spring-onion like greens. Wild baby leeks are what they are (seems I get that question a lot). They are exquisite partly because they are available for such a short time, but mostly because they are a flavor booster for anything. Eggs, pasta, fish, anything. And they’re a beacon of spring that last the duration of a Texas spring. A puny little 14 days. So I will have to wait another greater-than-300 days for this Olive Garden famed dish made in my home, but better than average!
- ½ pound dried fettucine pasta noodles
- a handful of ramps, which is about a ¼ lb ramps by weight
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup half and half (for a richer, more authentic flavor, use heavy cream instead)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¼ cup (about ¼ lb) shredded parmesan-reggiano
- Cook pasta per packaging directions. While the pasta is boiling, you can start and finish the sauce.
- Coarsely chop the green stalks of the ramps into half-inch pieces. Finely slice the white parts. Set aside.
- Heat the butter in a medium saucepan until foamy over medium-low heat. Do not burn the butter.
- Saute the white parts of the ramps in the butter for a few minutes.
- Add the salt.
- Stir in the half and half (or cream if using) until blended.
- Whisk in the shredded cheese gradually allowing each amount to melt into the butter-cream sauce before adding the next amount.
- Add in the green ramp parts to the sauce, leaving just a few for garnish.
- Set on a low simmer until pasta is cooked and drained well.
- Add cooked pasta to the saucepan and stir well.
- Garnish with remaining green ramps.