Monday, September 6, 2010

Crab Ravioli

This crab ravioli is an idea that’s been floating around in my head for awhile. While I am one who never minds getting my hands and fingers dirty tunnelling for every morsel of crab, there are times you wish somebody has done all the work first. Unfortunately, that somebody still turns out to be me which leads to this ravioli being hands down the most time consuming dish I ever attempted.

I’d never have started on this dish if I didn’t score these amazing crabs at the market. These are some of the best I’ve had in ages – the meat was dense and sweet. All too often, crabs sold nowadays have spent so much time in tanks without room to move that their meat turns watery and cottony. Anyway, steam the crab until done and then pick out the meat. Unshell the claw meat in one glorious chunk. That will be the piece de resistance in the centre of each ravioli. Bind the loose crab meat with minced prawns, scallops and mascarpone then moisten with milk. Figure one medium-large crab to make 6 large ravioli.

For the sauce, toss cherry tomatoes and garlic in salt, pepper and olive oil then roast in a low oven for 1.5 hours. Make a stock from the crab legs. Puree the tomato, garlic and stock and strain very thoroughly.

Making pasta is tricky. None of the recipes I followed were ever exactly right. I guess that our humidity causes the flour to have greater moisture content. Yet, you don’t need to be a chemist to make pasta dough. The dough communicates with you. If it’s crumbly, the dough is too dry and you need to add something wet and if it’s sticky, dust with flour to dry it up. Personally, I use the following ratio: 20g semolina flour, 80g organic unbleached flour, 1 large egg yolk, 2/3 of the large egg white, 1 tsp olive oil, a pinch of saffron steeped in a little warm water and a pinch of salt. This yields enough dough to make 6 large ravioli or 2 small portions of long pasta.

Here, I rolled out the dough with poppy seeds folded in. Cut out 8-10 cm diameter rounds, using a bowl as a guide.

Be sure to fill each ravioli generously. Somehow the stuffing shrinks while cooking.

Cook in rapidly boiling salted water for 4 minutes, drain and serve on a pool of the roasted tomato puree. It’s really nice with a few pieces of crispy chorizo.

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