Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crab Stuffed Ravioli with Saffron Tomato Sauce

It's a fancy name. Probably too fancy. I know. In fact, I am pretty sure that if you throw saffron into any dish, it amps up the class factor at least ten fold. That being said, it is the perfect compliment to this dish. In fact, it is its salvation.

Let me start off by confessing that when it comes to making ravioli, I am far from skilled. In the past four days I have made three attemtps to achieve that restaurant/italian grandmother quality ravioli. Sadly, but not surprisingly, these only seem to improve in mess level and not much else. 

It might be the flour - which I admit I am being a little too stubborn about. I have consistently been using fresh ground kamut flour. One because I like that it is filling, second because it is made locally - which is more than I can say for the big bag of lackadaisical unbleached white flour sitting in the cabinet. Somehow I think that description for flour totally works - so it's staying. 

It might also be because I am old school - or maybe just poorly equipped - and have no pasta machine. Despite the fact that I did just invest in a circular ravioli press earlier today, I still seem to end up with a lot of misshapen and bulging raviolis. 

I imagine that making pasta will become quite easy in due time. I see myself coming home from school, rolling out some dough, getting a little floury in the most romantic of ways, and turning out a beautiful dinner nearly effortlessly. Right now that is a total fantasy that I am in no particular rush to achieve.

Cliche as it may sound, making pasta is a lesson far beyond culinary standards. Sometimes it is worth taking the extra hour to make a (severely imperfect) pasta dough. Tonight I managed to get flour on my sweat pants, face, and every inch of the counter top. I also dropped multiple unclassy words while trying to patch up exploding pockets of crab. It happened. And it was liberating. 

Fortunately there is cheese and crab and a sauce of butter and saffron to mend the mistakes, and make everything oh so right with this dish. 

The final product - plus roasted fennel


Crab Ravioli with Saffron Tomato Sauce 

This is the most deliciously rich ravioli dish. Seriously. Feel free to use semolina or whole wheat flour instead of kamut - experimentation is the best way to decide what you prefer. I hybridized a few recipes for the filling and slightly modified this recipe to make the sauce. After making this, I honestly had a 'wow I can't believe i just made this' moment. Homemade pasta takes some time, especially if you are a total novice like myself. Flipside, it makes you love the meal all that much more. Best of luck ravioli making!  

Serves 3-4


1 cup shredded fresh cooked crab meat 
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan 
salt and pepper to taste 

Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl and set aside. 

P A S T A 
(from this recipe on Naturally Ella)

1 1/2 cups kamut flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons water (plus a bit more as needed)
- - - 
1 tablespoon of olive oil 
1 table spoon butter 

1. Combine kamut flour and salt on a clean surface. Make a well. Add the two eggs, and three tablespoons of water. Using a fork, whisk eggs and slowly being to incorporate the flour. Continue and form a paste. Mix with hands and knead dough into a smooth ball. Adding just a little more water as needed to incorporate all the flour - be sparing as the dough can become to wet quite easily. 
2. Let rest for 20 - 30 minutes 
3. Cut dough into 4 quarters. Working each quarter at a time: roll out into a thin sheet. Make sure to flour the counter top well to prevent stockage. Measure out the ravioli and add a tablespoon of mixture into each ravioli. Crimp and let rest on a floured surface. 
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a few ravioli at a time and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and continue with the remaining ravioli.
5. Heat the oils together in a pan and add the cooked ravioli. Saute gently on medium high heat until lightly crisped and golden.  

S A U C E 

1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
hefty pinch of saffron 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 scant tsp tomato paste 

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whack for a few minutes to form a light roux. Slowly add the chicken stock, and heavy cream - whack constantly until thickened. Add the saffron and reduce the heat to low. Stir nearly constantly for 10 minutes. Add the Parmesan and tomato paste and incorporate by whisking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

1 comment:

  1. Fancy indeed, but fancy in moderation! I can imagine you walking in from class/work, throwing on an apron that you have hanging by the back door, and rolling out dough with flour smudges on your hands, hair, and face. (And Ryan trying to help.) We should get into making more pasta - practice does make perfect!