Spring Onion Risotto with Herb Ricotta

Early spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The snow is melting, and we are finally able to come out of hibernation and hike the parks. What makes this recipe one of my favorites is the satisfaction of foraging through the wilderness and gathering ingredients.

The ramps in this dish introduce a nice sweet onion flavor. Blanching the ramps and creating a purée adds a grassy flavor and gives the dish a beautiful bright green color. Parmesan and ricotta provide richness and depth, while the lemon zest brightens the risotto.

Serves 6

Herb Ricotta

  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Risotto

  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 30 ramps or green onion, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 6 oz grated parmesan
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon green onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley minced

Bring a pot of water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine ricotta with green onion and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Divide ramps into whites and greens. Thinly slice whites and set aside. Blanch greens in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer to a strainer and run under cold water. Transfer to a blender. Blend on high speed, adding water as necessary, until a smooth, bright green purée is formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Heat 6 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped ramp whites, yellow onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and herbs. Cook 1 minute, then add rice and cook, stirring often until all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring until mostly absorbed. Add 2 cups of stock and cook, stirring every 4 minutes, until mostly absorbed. Add 3 more cups stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring until mostly absorbed after each addition, until rice is nearly done. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, and ramp purée. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is cooked through and risotto is very creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve risotto topped with herb ricotta.