6.07.2009

If You Dare: Hand-rolled Lobster Ravioli


You know you have confirmed an obsession when you spend several hours hand-rolling ravioli dough simply because you just haven't had the time to get a pasta roller and because homemade pasta tastes that much better than wonton wrappers. Is it a curse or a blessing? Neither I've decided, it's just a way of life.

I've been harboring this recipe for lobster ravioli in my mental catalogue of dishes to try for over a year now when it first piqued my interest viewed here. It never seemed to make sense to go through the trouble of securing a lobster, boiling it, grinding it, seasoning it, and sacrificing it to make raviolis until a fortuitous lobster sale at Ranch 99 offered the suckers for $7.99 a pound. Not bad for two (outstanding) meals (the first was lobster pad thai urgently prompted by Steve Almond's Death By Lobster Pad Thai. Anyhow, back to the raviolis, the texture of the claws and upper half of the body had been somewhat degraded by freezer storage while the tail was enjoyed fresh first. Perfect for churning into raviolis. (Add another step to the process, thawing).

I followed this recipe a little too precisely for my personal taste (reinforce note to self: go with your instincts, everyone's flavor preferences are different). The filling was a standard lobster and cream mousse to which chopped lobster meat, basil, and cilantro is added. No need for salt since there's plenty of ocean residue already. For the pasta dough I used a basic ratio of one egg + one yolk : one cup of 00 Caputo flour (extremely fine grind - it makes all the difference). Two cups of flour, two eggs, and two yolks for a total of eight decently large raviolis. Roll roll roll, fold, repeat until your arm workout compares to an afternoon spent at the rock wall. Two sauces - elaborate no? - both made with the lobster broth as a base. One, keeping with the Asian theme, is infused with lemongrass and coconut milk, while the other is more French with tarragon, carrots, tomato, and cream.



Improvements to consider:
1) only use the lobster mousse for the filling with maybe a touch of chopped basil (the additional meat does not add favorably to the texture)
2) separately reduce the lobster broth to a sauce
3) use cream for the base rather than the lobster broth) and infuse it with the flavorings. Also, stick to one sauce (I recommend the lemongrass coconut, keeping to just one continent)
3) boil the sauce down to a condensed, drizzle-consistency (these flavors are intense, a very little goes quite far)
4) oh, and invest in a pasta roller, even if it's just a hand crank one

All in all, it made for some tasty artwork and an accomplishment to bathe in for awhile. But I'm serious about the pasta roller, your ravioli sheets will be much finer and silkier.

1 comments:

Lucy said...

Your right, wonton wrappers are less desirable in my opinion too. And although making rav's from scratch is time consuming, but so worth the effort.

These lobster rav's look so good... kudos!