Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps

It’s déjà vu all over again. Those who get email notifications of my posts may recognize today’s blog entry from an errant notification sent out 2 weeks go, an embarrassing case of premature publication. Let that be a lesson for us all. Be sure to change the “Publish immediately” option to a date in the future, lest you post prematurely. And to think, one of the reasons that this entry was still in editing was because I didn’t have an introduction. Ha!

Moving right along, last week’s post shared two of Mom’s recipes for preparing baby artichokes. I had originally intended to include today’s pasta recipe with those but the post’s length became an issue. The week prior’s post, Makin’ Feta, was really quite long and I didn’t wish to inflict 2 long posts in a row upon you. Besides, in a few weeks we’ll be making mozzarella. Those posts are going to rival feta for being the most lengthy on this site, so,  I’ll try to keep the posts short for you until then.

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Although it took place in a downpour, my first trip to the area’s best farmers market was a good one. In a mad dash to one stall, I bought this year’s rosemary bush, some freshly picked asparagus, and wild ramps. The sprint & transaction took under 5 minutes. Max barely had a chance to get comfortable in my seat in the car before I was telling him to move over. Once home, with everything unpacked and put away, the question became what to do with the morning’s bounty. Well, give me some veggies and I’ll make a pasta. This time I went back to an old favorite for inspiration and the result was my Pasta Primavera.

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Fettuccine With Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps

La Primavera is Italian for the Spring and today’s pasta features 3 vegetables that are synonymous with Spring: asparagus, artichokes, and ramps. Although ramps are no longer in season here, my Friends to the North may still be able to find them. If not, feel free to substitute a few Spring onions, thinly sliced, reserving the green ends for garnish. There’s still plenty of asparagus available at the market and, as you may recall from last week, I’ve a nice stash of artichokes in the deep freeze.  So, with these ingredients, this pasta will just about prepare itself.  Now, as much as I enjoy a cream sauce, it would only mask rather than accent the delicate ramps. As a result, I prepared this pasta similar to Aglio e Olio, but with ramps used instead of garlic and with artichokes and asparagus added to the mix. As such, the dish is certainly simple enough to prepare but its success lies in the timing. Remember it is better to have the sauce ready and waiting for the pasta than the reverse. No one likes mushy pasta.

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To begin, prep the vegetables. The baby artichokes should be cleaned, trimmed, and blanched. Thaw if frozen.  The asparagus, if large, should be peeled and all should be chopped into pieces about 1 inch long. Reserve the tips. The ramp leaves should be removed from the bulbs, washed, dried, and hand-torn.The ramp bulbs should have the root-end trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced. Use as much of each vegetable as you prefer, given the amount of pasta to be served.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add about 4 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add as many red pepper flakes (or dried red pepper) as you like and sauté for about a minute before adding the trimmed, sliced ramps. Continue sautéing for about a minute before adding the cleaned & blanched artichokes. Season with salt & pepper and continue to sauté until the artichokes are cooked to your liking.

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Meanwhile, remember the timing concern as you bring a pot of water to boil. If you’re using fresh, home-made pasta, the fettuccine will cook in but a couple of minutes. Add the chopped asparagus spears to the boiling water when you add the salt & fettuccine. If using store-bought dried pasta, package directions will usually advise a cooking time of from 5 to 11 minutes. Depending upon how crisp you like your asparagus, add it to the pot with the fettuccine 2 to 5 minutes before the pasta is to be cooked al dente.

When the pasta is just shy of al dente, add a little pasta water, the asparagus tips, and the ramp leaves to the frying pan & stir. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water as you drain and add the pasta to the frying pan. Mix well and by now the pasta should be al dente. Take the pan off of the heat and add as much grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese as you like but not so much that the ramps’ flavor is overwhelmed. Mix well, adding enough of the reserved pasta water as needed to fully moisten the fettuccine. Serve garnished with additional grated cheese, chopped parsley, and, of course, freshly cracked pepper.

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Fold, Cut, & Unfurl Fettuccine

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One More Thing

Aglio e Olio is quick to prepare and a very versatile recipe. In fact, the very day I made this dish for supper, Claire, of Promenade Plantings, shared her delicious recipe for Aglio e Olio using her home-grown, purple sprouting broccoli instead of the vegetables that I used. Not but a few days later, Celi over at The Kitchen’s Garden made her tasty version of Aglio e Olio using Chinese cabbage and thinly sliced sausage. See? If you learn how to make this basic pasta, you can use it to take full advantage of a variety of in-season vegetables throughout the year. What? No vegetables? Grab some shrimp. I told you it’s versatile!

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83 thoughts on “Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps

  1. This looks like an amazing fettucine. I love the vibrant colour of the vegetables. That asparagus looks so fresh. But what are ramps? I have never heard of them. Spring onions? The ones where you eat the white bulb but you can’t eat the green part because it’s poisonous? Or are they a bit like a leek? Anyway…I’m sure you enjoyed your dinner of ramps! (I’m off to google it) xx

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  2. Hi, Charlie! Ramps are a wild member of the onion family and are harvested in April across the US and Canada. Unlike spring onions, ramps have broad leaves rather than stalks. The leaves are edible and I tore them by hand and included them in this pasta dish. I was shocked to find them at the farmers market. They’re usually gone within minutes and I’m at the market pretty early. The rain probably helped me to get some this year. And yes, I did enjoy my pasta! 🙂

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  3. Thanks, Roger. I googled ciboules and they do look and sound like ramps, which are only found in Canada and the US. Spring onions work every bit as good in this dish but ramps, being relatively rare, are a real treat. The cooking shows have discovered them now, so, I think it will grow progressively harder to get ramps each Spring.

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  4. The asparagus and artichokes look lovely and this is the best kind of pasta dish, I think, fresh and simple. I didn’t know what ramps were either, but they look like the wild leeks we find around here in spring which are good with pasta or in tarts.

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  5. Hi John, thanks for the shout out. We have just eaten the last of the sprouting broccoli and I’ve ripped the plants up to make space for this years crops.
    Ah, the best laid plans, but what a glorious post, from the photos to glimpses into your life (I loved the picture of Max sitting in your seat), and a delcious recipe. Just perfect, simple, tasty and so Springy!! Hope you have a wonderful week

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    • You’re so welcome, Claire, and thanks for leaving such a nice comment. I really do enjoy adding in-season veggies to pasta aglio e olio. It’s quick, easy, and lets the vegetables shine. Can’t ask for much more.

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  6. Good, thought I would be the only one who doesn’t know what ramps are, thanks to Charlie for asking. Love learning about new ingredients.
    John, I can only hope and pray for the day that I can come and share a meal with you in your kitchen.
    🙂 Mandy

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    • My mistake, Mandy. I should have described ramps in the post. I would love to break bread with you, Mandy. All I ask is that you bring the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book with you. It would give us something to talk about if there’s a lull in the conversation. 🙂

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  7. I had to laugh at Premature Publication! Been there, done that, more than once! Particularly when I post from my iPhone, that feature is in a totally different location.
    Ramps: I’ve not seen these here, do the taste differently than onions? I must look out for them. Your pasta looks amazing, as usual.

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    • Yeah, it’s an annoying mistake and hopefully no one minded the error. Ramps taste like spring onions, Eva, with a little bit of garlic thrown in for good measure. You may be far enough North that you might be able to find them. Down here, there only available in April and even then they’re hard to find. I’ve never seen them in any of our stores or vegetable markets. I’ve only found them in farmer’s markets. Since our markets don’t open until late April, the odds are against finding them. THis year, I bought them from a stall run by a family farm in Michigan. I’ll be looking for them again next year!

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    • Thanks, David. I hope that your patch does grow and spread. I have wondered about that. Ramps aren’t cultivated so they must spread rather rapidly. I’ll be interested to see what happens to your little patch next Spring.

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    • Yay! Good for you, Marie! I’m leaving for Zia’s tomorrow and will be bringing her some artichokes. I’ve also promised to go dandelion picking for her salad. Who knows? Their weather is far behind ours. I may be able to find some ramps and a morrel or two. Fingers crossed!

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  8. Fabulous John…what a beautiful looking and delicious sounding dish! I too didn´t know what ramps were either, but am now enlightened, they sound great. But I am still thinking of poor old Max, happily sitting in the car thinking he was was going to have a lovely walk or at least a good sniff around the neighbourhood and it was time to go home again 😉

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    • Poor Max? Hardly. He’s well-known at that end of the market. He absolutely adores Debra, the woman that directs traffic, and will start whining when I’m still a half-mile away. By the time I pull into a spot, he’s full out crying & barking, waiting for her. As I leave the car, she’s arrived and is busy petting and calming him. Before long, she’s introducing her “baby Max” to passers-by. He’s a charmer, Tanya, and has Debra and a few of the stall owners in the palm of his paw. If only it would translate into cheaper produce. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much. I remember, Yvette, you’re saying how much you loved it when I posted the original recipe last fall. It’s such a simple dish but I can never have it too often.

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  9. I too have hit the publish button prematurely, sorry John, you are not unique. I was one of those that received the errant notification sent out 2 weeks go but this is well worth the wait. Had ramp recently, a special spring treat indeed. Not sure of its availability now. Gorgeous and delicious pasta dish as usual, thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you, Norma. I think most of us have made that error, unfortunately and there’s little to be done about it. I’m sure ‘ll do it again one day — hopefully not too soon! Ramps have definitely left here for the season. Lucky for us the growing season is just getting underway; there’s plenty of good stuff coming down the pipeline. Yay!

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  10. I agree, sometimes a cream sauce can mask rather than accent the fresh ingredients … still hard to resist. Along with premature publication is the “4507” post, the handy title WP provides if you forget to–got one or two of those. Looking forward to the mozzarella!

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    • Thanks, Judy. As much as I enjoy a good cream sauce, it isn’t always a good idea. Mozzarella is coming although, like feta, it is an invovled process. I want to make sure I’ve covered all of the bases before I share it.

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  11. I wrote something the first time round and then the post disappeared… but no matter, I’m glad to see it back and with a new intro. Excellent recipe and lovely photos 😉

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    • Sorry, MD, for the confusion. I never know how to handle that situation when it occurs. Nevertheless, I’m glad you enjoyed today’s recipe. Thanks for stopping by a 2nd time to say so. 🙂

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    • You sure are right about the peas, Sharyn. Mom used them often in pastas in the Spring. For some reason, I never think to use them in mine. I have to remedy this because I do enjoy them. Thanks for the reminder.

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  12. Oh I love this! I’ve been thinking about trying ramps for the first time, but wasn’t sure how or when. Tada! This is great John, and makes me really hungry. I’m glad you included tips on other ingredients to try too, I’m never good at winging it so it’s much appreciated. 🙂 I learn so much here…

    Poor Max, he was just getting comfortable Dad! I love it….

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    • Your comments are always so encouraging, Sarah. Thank you for that!

      Pasta is one dish that you most certainly can wing it, Sarah. It’s hard to make a bad dish so long as you’re using fresh ingredients that you like. Pasta aglio e olio is a good preparation to learn. Once you know it, you can easily modify it suit whatever vegetables you have on-hand. You’re a good enough cook already that you shouldn’t have any problem with any of these dishes or should you decide to strike out on your own. If all else fails, add a ton of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. It’s the duct tape of my kitchen. 🙂

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  13. I don’t ever mind long posts from you, John. Length is not the problem. What I struggle with is reading at times I can’t get to my kitchen. This is my favorite type of pasta, from the homemade fettucine to the aspargus and artichokes…and ramps, although I don’t think we have them here, I can substitue some early spring onions, I’m sure. This is truly a lovely dish. Your blog is such a resource! Debra

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    • Thank you, Debra for always leaving such nice comments. I can only imagine how hard it must be to be kitchen-less for an extended period. For me, it would be the little things that I’d find hardest. Just going to the fridge for a snack or making a pot of coffee without it becoming a major ordeal. Well, keep your eyes on the prize and just imagine how nice your new kitchen will be. I hope you’re going to post some pics of the new space. I’d be very interested to see your new baby. 🙂

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      • Isn’t it funny what we communicate…I wasn’t clear at all! No new kitchen, John…although I could sure use that! Just an extended “break” while caring for my dad. All is well…and if he weren’t on a very different diet right now I’d figure out a way to cook no matter what 🙂 And as for a new space…goodness knows if we ever get around to that it will be all over my blog! I’m just about ready to declare it a “retro” kitchen and pretend my choices are intentional! 🙂

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        • Forgive me, Debra, for my mistake. I’ve such a bad memory and, right now, I’m a bit distracted. I’m leaving for Michigan early tomorrow morning and have a dozen things running through my head. I think I’ll stop trying to respond to comments for now and get some of this packing and a few chores done. I’ll come back to this when I’ve got time to think of what I’m doing.

          That said, I’m very familiar with pneumonia’s recovery period. Your Father is very lucky to have you all there to care for him. That’s about as good a guarantee there is that his recovery will be quick and full.

          Again, sorry for my confusion. 🙂

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  14. Have a wonderful trip John. This pasta dish looks glorious. How could it not be with artichokes AND asparagus? I’ve never tried ramps before but they are popping up all over the blogosphere so now I am eager to get myself to a local farmers’ market and search out the ramps.

    As for Max….I can see our dogs are very lucky souls. As is I ever wondered about you John after the dog biscuit post. Sadie always insists on riding shot-gun. If my teens are riding with me, they have to race her to the front seat because she is NOT an easy one to move. She is a car-loving canine but has not opted for the driver’s seat…yet. I guess there’s always tomorrow.

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    • Thanks, Geni. This is my first trip for the year and I’m anxious to get back and see everyone. Ramps were never really easy to find, at least around here. Now that the cooking shows and blogosphere have found them, I fear it will be even harder to find them next year. Maybe I can train Max to find them, like the dogs that hunt truffles in Italy.

      Your Sadie sounds just like Max & his “seat” in the car. I often feel like his chauffeur and many is the time that people point at him (us) as I drive by. He rarely looks out the side window, always to the front. He’s even begun to lean into turns now that he recognizes what a turn signal indicator sounds like. He’s quite a character, that’s for sure!

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  15. Funny how the “premature publication” provided you with the very introduction you were in need of once you were ready to publish for real. 🙂 I remember when that preemie came out and I was all excited to read more, but there was none…what a tease! This was worth the wait for sure though. Simple, versatile, DEElicious! Hope I can still locate ramps the next time I’m willing to brave the elements to hit the farmers market. I think next week John I’ll have a kitchen to cook in again – these wonderful recipes of yours make the wait slightly harder to bare, but of course you’re not to blame for that. 🙂 I think I’ll have to take photos of the finished dishes (or maybe just the happy grin on my husband’s face) when Finally I can make John’s pastas!! Thanks for another great one!

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    • Thank you, Spree, for leaving such a nice comment. Sorry to be such a tease. I saw that I was publishing that post but couldn’t stop myself from hitting enter. Then I was like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. Too little too late.
      Glad to hear that your kitchen is almost ready. I bet you cannot wait to get in there!
      The beauty of pasta aglio e olio is that it is so easy to add a vegetable or two to the dish. Peas, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, you name it. With summer coming, I make it just about weekly and use whatever I can find at the farmers market. I’m sure i’ll make it at least once for my Zia when I visit her this week. I’m bringing some artichokes just for that purpose. 🙂

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      • I’ve experienced the same thing John…
        n o o o o !! please s t o p !!!! But of course it doesn’t!
        As for getting back in my kitchen, honestly this is like being certifiably neurotic and having my psychiatrist on vacation. 🙂 OK, maybe it isn’t that bad! How would I know? 🙂 But being away from my kitchen like this certainly is informing me of the sweet peace found there! Not wanting to complain, (and I’m really not) but it’s true, I am missing it an awful lot. 🙂 (sigh)

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  16. Okay, my inexperience and lack of knowledge is coming out here – I’ve never heard of ramps before…they look like green onions, yes? What do they taste like? I need to get out to our farmer’s market, too, to get some fresh tasty veggies. 🙂 This pasta dish looks so good, John – and i think I could even talk the boys into giving it a try. 😉

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    • Ramps are similar in flavor to spring onions, with a little garlic flavoring. The entire plant is edible, leaves and bulb. Whether or not you find ramps, you can use this recipe to make a pasta dish with just about any vegetable you have. And if your boys look like they might balk at the idea, add more grated cheese. That always worked for me when I was a boy. 🙂

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  17. Just look at that fettuccine–gorgeous!! If I haven’t already expressed multiple times, I’m a pasta fiend. Love the combo of artichokes and asparagus…two of my favorites. What a great way to use your fresh veggies. 🙂

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    • Caroline, I, too, am a pasta fiend. I enjoy it at least once a week, no exceptions. 🙂 As much as I love it with tomato sauces, a quick aglio e olio, with in-season veggies, is a simple and delicious dinner. And like you, pairing asparagus with artichokes is perfection for me.

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  18. I laughed out loud over the term “premature publication” not only because your description is so apt and funny, but because I saw it when it happened, then tried to chase down your post because I wanted to read it, then realized what had happened, since I’ve prematurely publicized myself! And like Debra above, I always enjoy your posts, lengthy or no, because it’s like being absorbed in a good book, and you only get to read a short chapter each week, then want to go forth and apply what you’ve learned. That’s the mark of a gifted blogger for sure. Hey, I’ll trade you some peaches for some ramps! I just came back from the Wednesday farmer’s market with two bags full 🙂 …but haven’t seen any ramps this year. 😦 Your pasta dish looks divine.

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    • Thank you, Betsy, for you kind words and understanding. 🙂
      I would gladly trade you some ramps but they’re gone for the year. It’s really a lucky thing that I got any this year. Normally only available in April, we had some really warm weather in March that surely affected them. Our first farmers market opened on April 28th, so, ramps were already just about out of season. I bought some and should have bought quite a few more and froze them. Not to worry. Next year I’m buying all that I can find. Maybe we can meet in a central location and have a swap? 🙂

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    • Thanks, Mar, this really is a great springtime dish. Of course, i am a fanatic for pasta and as much as I enjoy asparagus and artichokes, they are mere pawns in my plan to eat more pasta. 🙂
      You’re right, too, about trying to showcase Aglio e Olio. Unlike French cuisine with it’s sauces and techniques, Mario Batali says Italian cuisine is based on Grandma’s cooking. It’s simple and not at all codified. Learn a few of the basics and everything falls into place. Aglio e olio is one such basic.

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  19. What a fabulous light on the pasta photograph!
    Your cut fettuccine is the neatest and most enticing pasta I’ve ever seen.
    I thought I dreamt that I saw this recipe before. I understand the premature publication issue as I have done it myself.
    So glad to have your recipe to share with my veg branch of the family again. They are 2 for 2!
    I wouldn’t know a ramp but am eager to learn more about them. Your posts are quite educational for me.
    Safe travels and my followers will be missing your astute and witty comments.

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    • Thank you very much, Ruth. There’s a story behind that picture and its lighting but I should have been in bed 2 hours ago. The tale will have to wait for an email. I hope your veg family members try this recipe. If they’ve no ramps — and it’s kinda late for them now — tell them to use spring onions or even shallots. Of course, they can always revert to garlic. I’m just trying to demonstrate that you if you know how to make pasta aglio e olio, you can pretty much add what you want and create your own delicious pasta dinner. Italian cooking is all about accessibility. None of this is rocket science.
      Now I’m off to bed, I’ll be leaving in a few hours and better get a nap in first. Because of poor service in that area, I may not be able to respond to everyone’s posts but I will be reading them. Have a good week. Tell your veg family that they may like next Wednesday’s recipe, too. 🙂

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  20. Pingback: Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps | Le Marche and Food | Scoop.it

  21. Pingback: Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps | Internet Billboards

  22. I can’t think of many things I enjoy more than a good pasta (and making a homemade sauce). This one looks great. I’ve never had ramps before, so I’ll have to try those. And I have your agilio e olio on my list!

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  23. Pingback: Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps | La Cucina Italiana - De Italiaanse Keuken - The Italian Kitchen | Scoop.it

  24. Pingback: Fettuccine with Asparagus, Artichokes, and Ramps « goodthingsfromitaly

    • “The Unstoppable Giovanna!” Sounds like a new blog title. I’ve just returned from a visit with my Zia. My 1st afternoon there, I made a batch of pappardelle, fettuccine, and linguine. Yes, we ate lots of pasta during my visit!

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  25. Well, John, you always surprise. I haven’t seen a ramp since I left West Virginia. We lived there for three years in the early 1990’s and ramps are a like the state bird of veggies back there. What a great recipe. I’d never heard of them before I lived there. I’ll have to fly over to Charleston and pick up some ramps. 🙂 Could you substitute leeks?

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    • Judging by the comments, there aren’t many besides you and me that know of ramps. I think they’re more of an East Coast thing. You can substitute whatever you like with this dish. The underlying idea is to use whatever vegetables that are in season. Ramps, leeks, spring onions, and even shallots. And, as always, if all else fails, use garlic!

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  26. I had never heard of Ramps! I’m so happy you explained it to Charlie. Now I’m going to keep my eye out for them. What a delicious looking dish, John! As usual your recipes are perfect and never, ever, disappoint!

    And your pasta? Just beautiful! 🙂

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    • Thank you, April. Sorry to say, I think ramps are gone for the year. They usually only appear in April (no pun intended) and I’ve no idea whether this year’s unusual warmth affected the harvest — or if it will affect next year’s. I looked around the woods when I was in Michigan this week and didn’t see any ramps nor morrells. I did find plenty of mosquitoes, though. 😦

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      • I was in the woods today and caught a glimpse of our first mosquitoes of the year. No ramps of course, but I’m not sure I would know one if it jumped up and bit me. 😉 I will have to keep my out in the farmer’s markets next spring.

        Hope you are having a nice day! ~ April

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  27. Hi John–I think we’ve all had that “oh no” moment hitting the publish button. Love the beautiful picture of your fettuccine. The colors are so vibrant and it appears to be three dimensional.
    – Michael

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    • I made this dish for dinner with Zia one night. It is such a great, springtime dish, Kathryn. And so quick & easy to make. It’s a great way to take advantage of spring’s veggies.

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    • Thanks, Karen. You’re right about the aglio e olio. I feared a cream sauce would have rendered the ramps virtually tasteless. Besides, I really love aglio e olio. 🙂

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