Recent Posts

Thomas The Accidental Gourmet

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lobster Ravioli

Pasta-fest continues chez moi.

While I'm certain there's a little tweaking I could use on my pasta, there's not too much room for variation when your ingredients are 100 g. flour: 1 egg, and you knead it until it's just too sticky, then add more flour and knead again.

The challenge is finding something to eat with the pasta.  In the case of fresh linguine (or pre-made pasta), it's pretty simple: sautee some vegetables and a little meat, and have pasta primavera.  For homemade ravioli, however, the task is a bit more challenging.  After all, not only do you have to come up with something tasty with which to stuff it, but if you've gone to all that trouble, your sauce had better be pretty killer, as well.

Sometime around Christmas, Jenn and I got a bit of a wild hare and decided to try our hands at lobster bisque.  While normally I'm not a fan of that soup, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked ours.  With that still bubbling on the brain, I came across a 1-pound lobster tail on sale last week.  I knew something was going to happen with that lobster tail.

Then, we invited our friends, Becky and Bradley over for dinner.  They're excellent guinea pigs, so I decided to take a chance and put the lobster in ravioli.

Lobster Ravioli

What You Need

One lobster tail (12-16 oz)
1 1/2 - 2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium shallot
1/3 cup brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 tsp cayenne (or you could use half a habanero)
4-5 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 pinch tarragon
2 by leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp butter
1/8-1/4 cup half-n-half (or cream)

What To Do With It

Sautee the shallots, carrots and celery in olive oil.  Remove.  In the same pan, sautee the mushrooms in half your sherry. 

In a deep, wide  pan, put in enough water to cover about half your lobster tail, put in the bay leaves, tarragon and a couple pinches of salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook the lobster tail for about 4 minutes, turn over, and cook another 4 minutes (you're not cooking it all the way just yet).  Remove the lobster tail, spoon out the fat, and turn the water down to a simmer.

Crack the shell and remove the meat. Set aside.

Reserve the water you boiled the lobster in, and place the shell back in the pan.  Add the brandy and flame until the alcohol is burned off.

Put the reserved water (but remove the bay leaves), mushrooms and veggies in the pan with the shell, add the coconut milk and the rest of the sherry and simmer for about an hour. 

Pour a glass of wine. Drink it.

Remove the shell (you can trash it now).  Strain out the vegetables and return the water to the pan. Bring to a boil.  Slice up your lobster and place it in the water for about 4 minutes. Remove and place in a food processor with half the veggies. 

Put the other half of the veggies back in the broth and turn the heat up to medium high.  Add the butter and reduce (you'll add the half-n-half if you need a little thickness). Check the level of your salt (salt to taste)

Chop up the lobster and veggies in the food processor (mince it), and make up your ravioli.  Bring water to a boil (you're going to cook the ravioli about 5 minutes, so time that with your sauce). 

Cook, plate and enjoy!

We served with a Riesling (mildly sweet).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ravioli Stuffed with Braised Lamb Shank

My wife bought me a pasta machine for Christmas. Now, I am a pasta machine.  I've made fresh pasta 4 times in 5 days.  At this rate, by next Christmas I'll have forearms like Popeye.

So far, my forays have taken two paths: linguine and what sauces to make with it (I think I mentioned my failed attempt at a truffled clam sauce in my post about slow-scrambled eggs), and ravioli.

Although my linguine has mostly been quite good (I whipped up a nice pasta primavera for new years), in all modesty my ravioli has been the Best. Thing. Ever.  "Why?" you ask.  Because I stuff it with braised lamb shank. 

A couple of observations about ravioli before I go on.  First, don't get one of those damn trays with the little holes that use a rolling pin to cut your ravioli.  Second, on a related note, the hand stamps work great.  Third, you should time your pasta to be rolled out at the same time you finish your ravioli filling.

All that being said, here's how to knock your socks off for dinner (I'm not kidding). To quote my wife, "I thought only truffles and [something else] could make me feel this way."

Ravioli Stuffed with Braised Lamb Shank

What You Need

1 lamb shank
1-2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1 cup chianti
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 white onion , diced
1 carrot (diced)
1 stalk celery (diced)
5-6 crimini mushrooms (thinly-sliced)
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)

What To Do With It

In a medium-sized, high-sided sautee pan, sear the veal shank in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side.

Add all the other ingredients save about 1 tbsp parsley and simmer (covered) for 2 hours on low to medium-low heat.

About 30 minutes before your veal is done, start making your pasta.  Roll out two sheets approximately 18 inches long and place on a pastry cloth.  Using your ravioli stamp, lightly mark where you would cut your pasta on the bottom sheet of dough.

Remove the lamb shank from the pan and strain the braising liquid. Place the liquid and 1/2 the veggies back in the pan and continue to simmer with the lid off.  Monitor this. 

Strip the meat off the bone and place it and the rest of the veggies in a food processor and mince it up. Taste and salt as necessary.
 Using your stamped pasta as a guide, form little "wheels" of minced lamb about the size of a half dollar and 1/2 inch thick and place on your template.  Lay the other sheet of pasta on top and, starting in the center and working toward the outside, begin cutting your ravioli.

By the way, you should have some water on to boil at this point, and it should be about ready.

Let your ravioli sit 10 minutes or so (place them on the pastry cloth so they don't stick to your work surface), and put them in the boiling water for about 3- 3 1/2 minutes.

Plate, spoon out our sauce and prepare to be thoroughly impressed with your own bad self.

We served this with a Del Dotto Sangiovese.