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RAMP LASAGNA

 



This is the best thing I have made or eaten in a long time. I made this last year when the ramps were in season but updated it and I think it’s even better than it was before. This is made with fresh ramps, dark ground turkey, and smokey bacon.


**If you don’t have ramps you could use leeks and garlic, it wouldn’t be quite the same but definitely still good. I would use 1 large leek and add it as the ramps are called for but wait and add 2-3 garlic cloves until the turkey is halfway cooked. You don’t want to burn the garlic.


Ramps are native to the mountains of Appalachia and Appalachian cooking has strong Italian roots (hence the pepperoni roll being the state snack food of WVA). Highlighting their flavor in a pasta dish is a classic way to use them. This has a little bit of bacon that doesn’t overpower the ramp flavor but enhances it. This lasagna is rich, satisfying, and sumptuous.


This is the old recipe, scroll down for new version.


What you need:


1 bunch of ramps (about 8) cleaned thoroughly

2 strips of good quality bacon

1/2 lb ground beef

pinch of dry parsley

salt and pepper

1/4 cup of dry white wine

oven ready lasagna noodles

1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

1/2 -3/4 cup of fresh mozzarella

1/2 -3/4 cup of heavy cream or half and half


To begin clean and chop up the whole ramp from tip to the end of the leaves, I like to do the whites in relatively small pieces and the greens in about 1 inch ribbons. Place a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan and place in your ramps and diced bacon and begin to render down the bacon, next add in your beef and begin to brown seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper. When the beef has browned and the ramps have wilted deglaze your pan with the white wine and add in a pinch of parsley and a touch more salt and pepper.


Scoot the meat to the edge of the pan, freeing up the center. Pour in your cream and allow to simmer for a moment (bringing the cream slowly to heat will ensure that it doesn’t curdle or break later when it goes in the oven). When the cream begins to bubble turn off the heat and stir in the meat ramp mixture so its all thoroughly combined. Set aside.


I always use cottage cheese in my lasagna because thats what is always in the fridge, I love cottage cheese! I use whole milk cottage cheese in this recipe because its so creamy and delicious. Combine with your two eggs and Parmesan cheese and a pinch of parsley, salt, and pepper. At this stage I also hand picked a couple of the cooked ramp pieces out of the meat mixture and stirred them into my cheese mixture, I like multiple layers of flavor.


Now its time to build your lasagna. Use a 10-12 inch baking or casserole dish. With a spoon, scoop out some of just the cream from your meat mixture and cover the bottom of your baking dish and place one layer of noodles on top. Now add your meat mixture another layer of noodles and then alternate with the cheese mixture. There is no pattern other than one you like and keep layering until you have run out of everything. Top with fresh mozzarella (crucial, you want wet blobs not dry pre-shredded since you aren’t using a lot of sauce and don’t want it to be dry) and a bit more parmesan if you have it. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for about 30 minutes then remove foil and cook another 5-10 minutes until bubbly and brown on top. Enjoy!


This is the better updated version (5.15.24)


I swapped out the ground beef for ground turkey and added a bit more of everything.


1 bunch of ramps (about 8) cleaned thoroughly

3-4 strips of good quality bacon

1 lb dark ground turkey

pinch of dry parsley

salt and pepper

1/4 cup of dry white wine

oven ready lasagna noodles

1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

1 cup of fresh mozzarella slices (NOT pre shredded dry mozzarella)

1 cup of half and half


Chop the bacon into 1 inch strips and brown over medium heat in a large skillet. Clean and chop the ramps and add them to the bacon. Wilt the ramps and then add the turkey and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally and cook the turkey. When it’s mostly cooked through add parsley and another pinch of salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with white wine and scrape up all the brown bits. Allow the wine to simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the half and half. Bring to a gentle simmer and then turn off the heat.


Combine cottage cheese, parmesan, and eggs in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. If you can easily scoop a few ramp pieces from the meat mixture stir them into the cheeses to add a little extra flavor.


Make sure the oven is preheated to 400°


Take a little bit of the cream (1/4 cup) from the skillet and pour it evenly across the bottom of the casserole dish. Put down one layer of noodles. Use a slotted spoon to spread half of the meat mixture on top of the first layer of noodles. Add another noodle layer and then spread the cottage cheese mixture evenly on top of that. Add another layer of noodles and then the remaining meat and top with one final layer of noodles. You should have some cream left in the skillet, pour that across the top layer of noodles so they are damp and then add the mozzarella evenly on top of that. Wrap tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and test the top noodles, they should be al dente at this point. Tamp them down into the bubbling liquid if they are still hard (this happened one time I made this, after pressing them down and giving a little more time they were good). Cook for another 10 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and browned on top. Allow to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!


It’s even amazing as leftovers the next day! 😋

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