Spring is in full swing y’all! This weekend was the kickoff of one of my favorite local farmer’s markets. Scenes of kiddos dancing to live bluegrass, the scent of fresh bread, the taste of sweet honey on a salty cracker, and green vegetables bursting with life will be filling my dreams for the week to come… Asparagus and Ramp Barley Risotto is spring on a plate.
I had my sights set on ramps this week. I’ve been seeing them all over the internet and have known about their onion-y, sharp flavor for a while, but had yet to lay my hands on any. As soon as I saw a woman with a large basket with only a few bundles left, I waited nervously in line, hoping she wouldn’t run out before I made it to the front. Her brown, wrinkled face twisted into a smile when I remarked about how glad I was that I got the last ones. She had another full bucket under the table.
After picking up two bundles of asparagus from one farmer, I thought for sure we had enough in our bags. But upon seeing even more of the thick, gorgeous stalks, we picked up two more for the week. I’m helpless to their spring green allure.
John snagged almost 5 pounds of young, but still blushed, tomatoes. He oven-roasted and blended them to bring out their sweetness in a pasta sauce for his lunch this week. It’s delightful.
Can you tell I’m intoxicated by spring? Even Saturday’s warm rain was a welcome sign that winter’s cold grip is long behind us.
With the windows open, our house still cools down in the evenings so this warm plate of “risotto” is the perfect transition into the new season’s flavors. If you can’t get your hands on ramps, leeks or green onions would make a perfectly fine substitution. And if you’re a risotto purist, feel free to sub Arborio rice for the barley, it’s just what I happened to have on hand.
Breathe in spring and enjoy the fresh flavors of Asparagus and Ramp Barley Risotto!
Spring is in full effect and this Asparagus and Ramp Barley Risotto is the perfect dish to welcome the season of green!
- 1 bunch Asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 bunch ramps, lightly chopped
- 1 cup Pearled barley (or Arborio rice), uncooked
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup white wine
- ½ lemon, juice and zest
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tsp. miso (optional)
- Salt & pepper
- Heat a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté chopped onion for 5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add wine to deglaze the pan. Add barley and cook until the wine has evaporated and the barley begins to toast, about 5 minutes.
- Add broth, cover, and cook (25 minutes for pearled barley, 45 for hulled barley).
- While the barley is cooking, heat the oven to 350 degrees, place the asparagus and ramps on a baking sheet with generous amounts of salt and pepper, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
- When the barley is cooked, stir in lemon zest and juice, nutritional yeast, miso, and cooked asparagus & ramps until combined and warm. Enjoy!