What to Cook This Spring

Bistro 101 chef Mark Valskey and Madison Sourdough chef Molly Maciejewski share recipes they love to make with late spring’s seasonal bounty.

Wild Ramp Pesto

Courtesy Mark Valaskey, Bistro 101


  • 1 lb. fresh basil
  • 1 lb. wild ramp leaves
  • 1 cup diced ramp bulb
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 lemons
  • 1-2 cups olive oil
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese (optional)


Juice lemons into a food processor with ramp bulbs, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until a smooth paste forms.

Add the basil leaves into the food processor. While the machine is running, slowly pour in the first cup of olive oil.

Once the basil is fully incorporated, add the ramp leaves. As the ramp leaves are being added into the mix, slowly add more olive oil into the bowl to get the consistency you desire.

Valaskey says: When we use this pesto for a pasta, I like to add the cream cheese to give the sauce some extra creaminess. The cream cheese gets added at the end with the ramp leaves.

Grandma Militzer’s Dutch Raspberry Pie

Courtesy Mark Valaskey, Bistro 101

Crust recipe


  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cold water


Add flour, salt and oil into large mixing bowl. While mixing with a fork, add the water a little at a time. Take the crust mixture and press into a 9-inch pie pan.

Pie recipe


  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ pint fresh raspberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add 1 cup sugar, 6 tablespoons flour and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt into a mixing bowl and mix well until fully combined.

Put half of the sugar mixture into the bottom of pie. Then add half of the fresh fruit. Put in second half of the sugar mixture. Add rest of fruit.

Pour ¾ cup evaporated milk over sugar and fruit mixture.

Combine 4 tablespoons softened butter, 2/3 cups sugar and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well, then add ¾ cup flour and combine.

Sprinkle flour mixture over the top, making sure to cover the fruit.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min or until firm. If you can shake the pie and it’s still wiggly, it needs more time to bake.

Pickled Rhubarb with Bonus Shrub

Courtesy Molly Maciejewski, Madison Sourdough

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

Add vinegars, water, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns and ginger to saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 min.

Add sliced rhubarb to a clean jar. Pour the pickling liquid from the saucepan over the rhubarb while the liquid is still hot.

Let the jar cool and store in the refrigerator. Let the rhubarb pickle for at least 3 days before using.

Use pickled rhubarb as an addition to salsas, salads or as a crostini topping with goat cheese.

Once you have eaten all of the rhubarb, strain the pickling liquid and use as a shrub. Add to sparkling water, lemonade or in cocktails.

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