This is one of those — “what grows together goes together” type dishes. There is a small window of time in early spring that ramps and asparagus are available at the local market. While home cooks are familiar with asparagus, ramps which are actually wild leeks is primarily available only at farmers market. Both top and bottom are edible although they have to be thoroughly cleaned and the bottoms roots removed. The green tops are edible and great sliced and sauteed in eggs or combined with other seasonal ingredients. Ramp tops also make a great sauce or puree when blended alone or in combination with peas and or asparagus. A small amount of water or chicken stock can be used to get the desired consistency.
Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Asparagus also contain high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which serves as a natural diuretic which allow for not only releas of fluids but helps rid the body of excess salts.
Service for 4
1 lb asparagus
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup peas
1 cup ramp tops
1 onion diced
1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan Cheese
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
5 T butter
chervil for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks and cook until quite soft, at least 4 minutes. Refresh quickly under cold water. Repeat using the ramps and peas. Save the asparagus tops for garnish. Put cooked asparagus bottoms with peas and ramp tops iin a blender or food processor and add just enough water to allow machine to puree until smooth; pass through a coarse sieve and set aside.
Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. You will need heated stock for the risotto. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let the onion brown. Add the rice and stir ocassionally until the rice turns slightly opaque. Then add the white wine and cook till the wine evaporates. Add a pinch of salt. Then add chicken stock to completely cover the rice. Cook and stir ocassionally till stock has just evaporated, then add more stock.
It should take about 20 minutes for the rice to completely cook. However start tasting after 15 minutes. At about 18 minutes add 1/2 the pea and ramp puree and cook till tender but with a bit of crunch.
Off the heat stir in butter and parmesan cheese and reserved asparagus tips. Garnish with remainder of puree as shown in photo above.
Add more Parmesan cheese at the table if needed.
NOTES; It may be better to remove the onion after the saute and return after adding wine since onion can burn while the rice is fried.