Wild Leek Pesto Campanelle With Shiitake Mushrooms & Ricotta
Nothing quite sings the beginning of Spring like wild leeks! Wild leeks, also called ramps, are one of the first plants to creep up in Spring and are often found in maple and mixed-wood forests.
They have an amazing and unique flavour that has made them a highly coveted ingredient. However, this has also lead to overharvesting and significant habitat loss for these tasty springtime plants.
It is important when harvesting leeks to only harvest a small portion of a wild leek patch per year or every couple of years (about 5%, according to our friends at Forbes Wild Foods) so that the patch can regenerate itself. It's also good practice to rotate the area that is harvested from from one year to the next.
Our wild leeks are sustainably and ethically sourced by Michael Constantini of Edible Wilds harvests leeks in a manner that ensures that future leek habitats are protected and able to regenerate.
How to Use Wild Leeks & Ramps
Tasting similar to an onion or strong garlic, wild leeks are incredibly versatile in preparation. They can also be enjoyed either raw or cooked, and the bulbs and the leaves are both delicious and edible - making their usage truly limitless!
Try preparing them cooked by simply roasting or grilling them, caramelize them in butter, or add them to a stir fry or to flavour a sauce such as a beurre blanc.
Or, try them raw chopped up and added to a salad or in a fragrant pesto, like we used them in this recipe with freshly made and frozen Ascari Campanelle pasta with fresh ricotta and Shiitake mushrooms!
For the Ramp Pesto
- 2 x dozen Edible Wilds wild leeks (ramps), cleaned
- 1/4 cup Mike & Mike's organic walnuts
- 1 clove August's Harvest garlic
- 4 tbsp Handeck cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Vancouver Island sea salt
For the Pasta
- 1 cup prepared ramp pesto (recipe above)
- 1 x pack Ascari Campanelle pasta
- 100g Unionville Mushrooms Shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 cup Quality Cheese ricotta
- 1 tsp Vancouver Island sea salt + more for garnish
- 1 x Mike & Mike's organic lemon
- Cookstown Green pea shoots for garnish (optional)
- Fresh cracked black pepper
Start by cleaning your ramps. You'll notice that these ramps come to you freshly foraged from Edible Wilds! To clean your ramps, simply run them under some cold water and peel back the top layer of the ramp bulb, like you would clean a green onion! Cut off the roots and rinse off any excess soil. Repeat for the rest of your ramps.
Place a large pot of water on the stove, seasoned with some salt, and bring to a boil.
While you're waiting on your water to boil, clean and cut up your Shiitake mushrooms. Cut them into quarters.
Grate your Handeck cheese and add it to a food processor along with your other pesto ingredients (cleaned ramps, garlic clove, sea salt, walnuts and olive oil) and puree until smooth.
Place a skillet on the stove with a little bit of olive oil and turn it on medium-high heat. Once heated, add your mushrooms and sauté until tender. Remove from skillet to a heat proof bowl and set aside.
Take a couple of your ramps and add it to the skillet to get a bit of char on both sides, then remove and set aside (this will be a garnish to your pasta).
When your pasta water is boiling, drop your Campanelle pasta. These will cook very quickly (about 3 minutes). Strain once cooked and transfer back into your pot.
Add a cup of fresh pesto and your mushrooms to the pot and carefully stir to combine. Plate immediately and top with a scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and a whole grilled ramp. Sprinkle with some extra grated Handeck and some flaky sea salt and garnish with some pea shoots. Finally add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Did You Try This Recipe?
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