Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crab Ravioli with a Pesto Alfredo Sauce

Photo by Meg McCluskey
Last year I attended a pharmacy conference in St. Louis with friends.  While there, we ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  I had the most delicious crab stuffed ravioli. Ever since that beautiful autumn day in October, I have been dying to make some of my own.  I finally got around to it this month, and I have been kicking myself for not doing it sooner!  
This was my first experience with homemade pasta, and let me tell you something: making your own pasta is not the labor intensive, unattainable task that it is sometimes thought to be.  It probably took an extra 30 minutes to make it myself and next time I'm sure it will be faster since I know what I'm doing.  The nice part is that you can make the ravioli and freeze it to cut down on the day of prep time.  Long story short, you really need to try this recipe. You won't regret it one bit! 

Ingredients for the pasta (Source: Annies Eats)
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
1½ cups semolina flour*
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water, plus more as needed

Ingredients for Stuffing (Adapted from Food Network)
2 oz unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped shallots
16 oz of cooked crab meat (I used snowcrab)
2 oz Cognac
2 oz ricotta 
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white slightly beaten

Ingredients for Pesto Alfredo Sauce (Source: epicurious)
1 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan  
1 cup of whipping cream

Combine the flours and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, creating a well in the center.  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using a mixer or by hand, slowly mix, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture a little bit at a time.  

Once you have a dry, shaggy dough, mix in the olive oil and water and knead by hand until the dough is fairly smooth and homogenous.  Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes (you can prepare your stuffing during this 20 minutes).  At this point, proceed with thinning and cutting as desired, depending on equipment available. I used a hand crank pasta roller. Set roller on the next to thinnest setting, flattened each ball of dough just enough to run it through the roller (keep all dough covered with a moist towel when not working with it directly).  Run the dough through the roller twice, folding it in thirds lengthwise between each thinning. Then change the roller to its thinnest setting and run the dough through once more. 
Photo by Meg McCluskey
While the dough is resting, prepare your stuffing. In a large saute pan, add the butter and melt. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until golden brown. Add crab, and chives and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add Cognac and reduce for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.  Add the ricotta and mix well. To assembly the ravioli, lay one sheet of dough on your lightly floured work surface, using a teaspoon, add dollops of the filling to the sheet based on the size of the ravioli you want.
Photo by Meg McCluskey
Next, place another sheet of pasta dough on top of the filling and stretch it gently to each corner of the underlying sheet and press to seal.  Then, using a pastry wheel, cut around your mounds of filling being sure that each ravioli is sealed. 
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Drain well coat with sauce (see below) and serve immediately.
To make the sauce, in a food processor add basil, pine nuts, and garlic and process until finely chopped.  Add the olive oil and process until smooth. Mix in ½ of the parmesan (you can put pesto in a jar and store for 2-3 days at this point).  In a saucepan, add whipping cream and bring to a boil, stirring to avoid scalding.  Add in pesto preparation and whisk to combine.  Add remaining ½ cup of parmesan and coat pasta immediately. 

Cook's Notes:
* If you don't have semonlina flour you can use all purpose; however, I really advise against it. The semonlina flour makes the pasta more, well, "pasta like" and less bread like.  It also gives it a smoother texture and is easier to work with by far!
** You can also shape the ravioli using a ravioli cutter as shown below. 

1 comment:

  1. I love making homemade pasta and this filling sounds delicious! So impressed...these turned out perfectly!