When it works, there aren’t many more satisfying things than homemade pasta. You feel like an Italian mama turning a quick weeknight carb into something fancy and magical.
On the flipside, when it doesn’t work it’s like all the love that you poured into making it has come back to slap you in the face. Why didn’t you just open a bloody packet of the stuff?!
I am still learning about pasta making, but I am determined to master it. Here is my recipe for a rather indulgent and delicious lobster ravioli.
Serves four as a main (as part of a 3 course meal).
For the pasta:
300g ’00’ pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
75g double cream
2 cooked lobster tails
200g scallops, seared
fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
shells from the lobster tails
1 carrot, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
Few fresh basil leaves
600ml vegetable stock
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
90g brown shrimps
up to 50g double cream
1. Put the pasta flour and 3 of the eggs into a food processor and pulse until it forms crumbs. Then remove the mixture and pull it together into a dough.
2. Knead the dough gently for a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 20mins.
3. While the dough is resting make your ravioli filling. Take the cooked lobster out of the shell carefully and cut into slices – you will need one slice for each ravioli.
4. Blend the scallops and the cream to form a puree and season.
5. After 20mins feed the dough through a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting and repeating through the narrower settings. The pasta will dry out quickly so keep any you aren’t using wrapped in cling film.
6. Lie a sheet of pasta onto a lightly-floured surface and spoon the scallop puree along it at intervals, leaving a couple of inches between each one. Top the puree with a slice of lobster and a basil leaf.
7. Beat the remaining egg in a cup and brush the pasta with it around the filling. Top with a second sheet of pasta and press down around the edges of the filling making sure you get rid of any air, or the ravioli might burst.
8. Use a round cutter to cut out the ravioli and lay them on a floured baking tray (in my experience if you don’t flour the tray they stick to it and then you lose your filling!). Cover with cling film until you are ready to cook them. There should be 20 ravioli.
9. To make the sauce put the butter and the lobster tail shells in a pan and fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, onion and basil and fry for a few more minutes until softened. If you have any lobster pieces left add these also.
10. Add the brandy (you can flambé it if you like) and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
11. Remove the lobster shells and add the chopped tomatoes. Blend the sauce in a food processor (or a stick blender is fine) then strain through a sieve into a clean saucepan to get rid of any remaining lumps.
12. Add the cream to taste – you don’t need much as you want to keep the richness of the lobster flavour in the sauce. Season and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving add the brown shrimps and warm them through.
13. To cook the ravioli boil water in a large saucepan (you want space for the ravioli as they will all float to the top), when boiling gently drop the ravioli in, you may need to do this in batches.
14. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the ravioli float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
15. To serve, put five ravioli on each plate and spoon the sauce and prawns over the top. Nice served with a rocket, parmesan and toasted pinenut salad.
This pasta was made for our next door neighbours to the sounds of Dermot O’Leary’s Saturday Radio 2 show.