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in the kitchen with: anna watson carl’s ramp, asparagus and arugula linguine

by Kristina Gill

To me, nothing says May like ramps and asparagus. That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to present cook Anna Watson Carl’s simple, seasonal recipe for Linguine with Ramps, Asparagus and Baby Arugula. If you you’d like to try a different recipe with asparagus, try Parigote’s roasted asparagus or Kate Flaim’s absorption pasta with asparagus, pancetta and feta cheese, one of the most popular recipes featured on the column. — Kristina

About Anna: Anna Watson Carl is a Manhattan-based freelance journalist and cook. She has worked extensively as a personal chef, food stylist and recipe tester for Martha Stewart Everyday Food and Real Simple. Carl writes about food and travel for a variety of publications including Gourmet Live, Huffington Post, Garden Design, Travel + Leisure and Fathom. She started her blog, The Yellow Table, in 2011 to document her love of dinner parties and simple, seasonal cooking.

See Anna’s full recipe after the jump . . .

Spring Linguine with Ramps, Asparagus and Baby Arugula
Serves 4


  • 1 small bunch of ramps, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 8 ounces whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 (to 1/2) teaspoon red pepper flakes*
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino, plus more for serving



1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Finely chop the white bulbs and pinkish stems of the ramps (about 2 tablespoons). Roughly chop the green leaves (about 1/2 cup) and keep separate.

3. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces and add to the boiling water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water. Let chill and drain.

4. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain.

5. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Add the asparagus and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Add the red pepper flakes if using, ramp greens, and arugula and stir until the greens are wilted, about 30 seconds. Season generously with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

6. Add the hot pasta to the pan, along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, pasta water, and Parmesan. Toss well to combine.

7. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and a nice grating of Parmesan.

*Add the red pepper flakes according to your taste — 1/2 teaspoon adds quite a kick!

Photography by Signe Birck

Why Anna Chose This Recipe

I love spring ingredients. When ramps and asparagus start popping up at the market, I am beyond excited. I developed this pasta recipe to let the spring flavors shine: pungent ramps, earthy asparagus, peppery baby arugula, all brightened with a splash of lemon. I added in some red pepper flakes for an extra little kick — you can add as much or little as you want. This recipe is so versatile — you could easily add fresh peas or fava beans, or if you wanted a bit of protein, you could throw in some toasted walnut pieces or chopped prosciutto. The dish is simple, unfussy, and unabashedly seasonal . . . which pretty much describes the way I cook!

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  • I like everything about the ingredients here. I’ve really come to appreciate simple pasta dishes, it’s a great platform for letting the ingredients really shine and play off each other. Look forward to trying it!

  • looks so good, i might have to pillage my local farmers market for some ramps – don’t think i’ve ever tried them

  • Well I had to look up what they are – I’ve never seen one. Apparently a sort of garlicky onion thing like a wild leek or a spring onion with garlic flavor? Does that sound right? Could we sub in leeks and a clove of garlic or something?

  • Ramps are so delicious! Although I love the surge in interest for wild foods, I must point out (as a forager and lover of wild things) that ramps take 5-7 years to be ready to harvest. Their increasing popularity in farmer’s markets and restaurants means that populations of this popular edible are being devastated. If you want to learn more, read the side bar in this article. Thanks!


  • Delish! Toasted walnuts are a highly recommended addition, and I also added mushrooms. I was a little confused about how much pasta water to add to the final mixture, though. Mine came out a little soupy but I simply strained off the excess liquid.

  • Logan, thanks for your comment re: the pasta water. I usually add about half the reserved pasta water (1/4 cup), toss everything, and then add the remaining 1/4 cup if it seems dry. I usually end up using all of it.

  • this looks lovely! (although I did have to google what ramps are… and arugula – wild garlic and rocket in the UK fact fans)

  • This was a lovely simple supper – for two of us, not four! If 8oz of pasta serves four in Anna’s household, that explains why she’s so slim …

    I used wild garlic (Allium ursinum) which is in season in the UK right now, & is similar to ramps (A. tricoccum). Another common name here for wild garlic is ramsons – apparently the name was brought over by English settlers when they discovered a similar form of wild Allium growing in the Appalachians, & it became corrupted to ramps (sorry, I get a bit nerdy about stuff like this …!).

  • Thank you! We made this last night, and everyone was content. A10 yr old ate his veggies, and my husband the T-Rex carnivore looked it as well. Next time we will have a side of walnuts for garnishing. This time we used a mixture of cheese including the Parma cheese. Deeeelice!!