It is raining outside. The sky is gray and stormy, and the weather is ohhhh so cold. But inside . . . it’s a whole different story. When you open the door and step inside, you are enveloped in the smell of fresh, homemade lobster ravioli. So go ahead– take off your wet coat and shoes, grab a seat at the table and prepare your fork. Sing some opera if you want to. Because this dish can bring warmth, comfort, and cheer to even the grayest of days. And seconds are always mandatory 😉
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
(based on basic Allrecipes.com ravioli recipe)
2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. water
Ravioli Filling Ingredients:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 cup lobster meat, very finely minced
1/2 cup lobster meat, roughly chopped
Garlic Cream Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. powdered parmesan cheese
Black pepper to taste
Prepare pasta and roll it out into a thin ribbon (more on this, later). To make filling, beat cream cheese until no lumps remain. Add in ricotta, shredded cheese, egg, and spices. Stir in lobster meat and stuff and crimp ravioli. To make sauce, melt butter and sauté garlic until fragrant (about 4 minutes). Add in cream, parmesan, and a pinch of black pepper. Simmer on medium low heat until sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of your spoon. Meanwhile, boil ravioli until noodles float (about 3-4 minutes per ravioli) and toss with garlic cream sauce. Serve immediately and accept the worship of your diners. 😉
Now, in pictures! 🙂
The first time I ever attempted homemade pasta, I was trembling in my boots. Well . . . I was wearing slippers, so I guess I was technically trembling in my slippers. But you get the idea. I was incredibly intimidated. I thought in order to make pasta I had to have a last name ending in “ezzo” or “ittinio” or something like that. But apparently the spirits of all the Italian grandmas took pity on me, because I found, surprisingly, that it was fun. Mixing up the dough and rolling out the pasta was therapeutic. I could actually feel the stress draining out of my body as I did it, and I found that the more I enjoyed making the pasta, the more my family enjoyed eating it. Maybe it’s true . . . love is the secret ingredient to Italian food 😉
So let’s get started. If you’ve never made pasta before, never fear. You can’t possibly be greener than I was (I could have made the White House lawn jealous with my “greenness”), and you will do great. 🙂 Start by whisking your flour and salt together. Some people prefer not to add salt to their pasta, but since I find noodles a little bland without it, I like to add a little (maybe 1/8 tsp.) to give the pasta some flavor. Next, make a little “well” in the dry ingredients and put your olive oil, water, and beaten eggs into the well. “Real” Italians mix the pasta on a board, with their hands, but because I don’t think I have a drop of Italian blood in my veins, I just put the ingredients in a bowl and used a whisk to mix everything in.
After I had whisked the ingredients together, I found I needed a little extra water to make it into a dough. So I switched to a wooden spoon and added a few more drops of water just until it made a nice dough for me. I kneaded the dough a few times on a floured silpat (more on these and where to get one here) until the dough was soft and pliable. I then wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about an hour, until it was chilled.
Don’t say I never made you any dough. hehe. Sorry. O_O Serious. 😉
While the dough is “just chillin,” go ahead and start your filling. Start by beating your cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth, and there aren’t any lumps. I like to let the cream cheese on the counter (still wrapped) for about 1/2 an hour before I need it, so it will be softened a little bit and will be easier to beat smooth.
Next, add in your ricotta, shredded cheese, egg, and spices. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl to be sure your cream cheese is “playing nice” and mixing with the other ingredients.
Now for the best part– the “lobsta”! You can buy lobster meat, or you can boil your own lobster. It’s not hard, and it’s a lot of fun! Check out my lobster tutorial here if you want to “claw your way” to the top. Hehe. Man. I am just smoking with the weak jokes, tonight. Sorry. 😉 I’d say the jokes were making you “Crabby,” but that’s the wrong seafood. haha. Oh man . . .
For a really good lobster ravioli, you need 2 things. You need each bite to have lobster in it, and you need some lobster chunks that are large enough to get a really nice “bite” of meat, instead of just shreds. To get the “perfect” bite in each ravioli, I like to mince half of my meat and leave the other half in rough, slightly larger chunks. That way you get a nice mixture of lobster taste and lobster meat in each ravioli. I usually get about 1 cup of meat, give or take, from a single lobster. I take half of the meat and really chop it up finely– almost mince it. Then the other half I only roughly chop. Add the lobsta’ meat into the cheese base.
Ahhh. This is loveliness right here, folks. Go ahead and cover/refrigerate your lobster filling until your ravioli noodles are ready to stuff. They’ll be right there, you know . . . chillin’ in the fridge with the dough. 😉
Next, let’s start our Garlic Cream Sauce. To make the sauce, melt your butter and sauté the minced garlic until it is softened and fragrant, which takes a few minutes. It smells INCREDIBLE while the garlic is cooking. YUM. Next, add in your cream, parmesan, and a pinch of black pepper. Turn the heat to low and cook the sauce until it has reduced and gotten nice and thick. And while all this is happening . . . (meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . tinny theater organ music swells in background . . .)
It’s time to make our PASTA! Get yourself a medium saucepan going with about 2 inches of water. We want this water to be boiling by the time the ravioli are ready to pop in there, so if we start the water heating, now, it should all work out like a dream 🙂 You’re so smart. I love working with you.
Take your nice, chillin’ doughball out of the fridge and cut yourself a piece off of it with a pizza cutter. The piece should be about as thick as your thumb. Use your fingers to lightly flour and smoosh the dough down a bit.
Using a pasta maker (I have a manual one, but there are Kitchenaid attachments, also, or you can use a good ‘ole fashioned rolling pin, if you have the skillz . . .), roll your pasta out to level 2 thickness. Generally, I roll the pasta first on the widest setting (on my machine it’s a level 6 at the widest), then double it over and roll, again (just double dough this one time). Then roll twice on level 4, and then twice on level 2. Each time you roll the dough thinner, in will get longer and longer. You won’t be able to believe that a piece of dough about the size of a clementine will give you 8 feet of pasta sheeting. It’s insane. Pasta . . . making the resources STRETCH. Literally. It helps to kind of “fold” the dough over on itself to keep it from getting mashed up and tangled, also, as you roll.
Cut yourself about 2 feet of the pasta sheet and lay it out on a floured silpat. I told you– I’m far from a pasta making expert, and I tore my dough, a little bit. But don’t worry. You can smoosh the dough back together, and although it may not be as pretty as Nonna Maria’s, it will still taste delicious. Place little “blobs” of lobster filling onto the dough, about 2 inches apart from each other. I used a tablespoon cookie scoop
to do this, because it made everything nice and neat and even.
Now my pasta looks HORRIBLE in this photo, so please forgive me for that. But just know I got better as I went along (see finished photos), so please cut me some slack. 🙂 Basically, though, you want to brush your dough around the filling with egg wash. Egg wash is just 1 beaten egg mixed with about a teaspoon of water. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the mixture onto the dough. The egg wash is kind of like glue that keeps the pasta sticking together so the lobster can’t escape. We want all that goodness in our bellies, not in the boiling water. 😉 Fold the dough overtop of the lobster filling and press the dough together with your fingers. Get all the air bubbles out (see I have a huge air bubble in there?). You want to smoosh those out, toward the sides. And yes, I got better at that, too, as I went on.
Now its time to crimp the ravioli! 🙂 I used a ravioli crimper (you can get one here for about 8 bucks), but if you don’t have one you can use a pizza cutter to cut out the shapes and a fork to press down the edges. The crimper tool cuts and crimps the edges, though, so if you want to make more than, like . . . one ravioli, it’s really worth the 8 bucks, in my humble opinion. Who knows– you may become a ravioli making extraordinaire! And a wizard needs proper equipment.
Don’t crimp the ravioli too terribly close or too far away from the filling. You want it to have about one “crimp’s worth” of space between the crimp and the filling.
Next, let’s check our sauce. I periodically stir the sauce to make sure nothing is sticking. After it has heated and reduced for 20 minutes or so, you get this glorious, creamy smooth sauce that will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Yep– this lovely pan of deliciousness is done. Turn the heat down to super low, just to keep it warm, and proceed to make yourself some awesome ravioli to soak in this delicious bath.
Once your ravioli are crimped and cut, carefully lift them off the silpat and drop them into boiling water. Don’t boil too many noodles at a time– just enough that they are all submerged and not crowded, or they won’t get fully cooked. I do 2-3 ravioli at a time. You just want to cook for 3 minutes, or so, until the noodles float. When they “rise up,” they are done. 🙂 Place the finished noodles on a drying rack over a silpat-lined cookie sheet. You can either drizzle sauce over them and serve, immediately, or you can finish boiling all your noodles and pop them in a 350 oven for 5 minutes or so, to warm them all, again. You can even freeze the ravioli (before you boil them) on a cookie sheet and then place the frozen ravioli into a Ziploc freezer bag, ready to pop right into the boiling water when you want a quick and easy supper. Homemade pasta in 5 minutes when you get home from work, after a long day? Yes, please! 🙂
That’s right. This means that, now, you can throw homemade pasta on the table in the time it takes to boil water. Things are about to get dangerous.
I’m pretty sure I can hear those Italian Grandmas singing, now.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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