Photo: Carina Salvi

Nothing piques the passion of the seasonally obsessed chef like ramps, whose springtime arrival at the Greenmarket is met with the kind of fervor associated with the naming of a new pope. The cheekiest members of the pungent allium family (garlic, onion, chive, leek, scallion) have a short season and a cult following, so look for them now at Union Square’s Mountain Sweet Berry Farm stand, and if you can wrestle a bunch or two away from a stockpiling chef, try them in this superb risotto recipe from Alto and L’Impero chef Scott Conant.

Scott Conant’s Ramp Risotto
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ramps
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
1 cup Vialone nano rice (Conant recommends Campanini brand)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth, simmering in separate pot on stove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, grated
Kosher salt to taste

Illustrations by John Burgoyne

In a wide, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
(1) Finely chop ramp greens and stalks, reserving greens for later. Add shallot, ramp stalks, and pepper flakes, and stir until the shallot is translucent, about two minutes. Add rice to pot and cook over medium heat for two minutes, stirring to coat rice with oil.
(2) Pour in 1/4 cup of the wine and boil until almost absorbed; a little liquid should remain on top of the rice. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot broth at a time, stirring the rice constantly until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1/4 cup of stock, the remaining wine, and a tablespoon of olive oil, continuing to stir.
(3) Add the ramp greens and more stock as needed and continue cooking and stirring until the risotto looks creamy but is still al dente, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from heat and let the risotto stand for about 30 seconds. Add a drizzle of olive oil, butter, and cheese; stir until well combined. Season with salt. Makes 4 first-course portions.