Saturday, 6 December 2014

Flo's Signature Crab Ravioli

Crab is one of those ingredients I find hard to resist on a menu or at the farmers market. I have tried many different recipes with it over the years, and this has to be one of the very best. If done correctly, the beautifully thin sheets of pasta will encase a fresh and zesty crab meat mixture that flakes perfectly, and does the ingredient justice. 

There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to crab ravioli - either fresh and crab-rich, or mousse-like with mascarpone or ricotta. The first way sounds simpler and involves a shorter list of ingredients but it is counter-intuitively richer too. If you use the brown meat to bind it, it has a creaminess of its own and the flavour remains pure. Needless to say, that is the type of recipe I have gone for.  

Recipe: (makes 9 large ravioli - enough for three as a starter or two as a main)

For the pasta:
When it comes to making pasta, Felicity Cloake has consolidated many different methods in her 'how to make the perfect...' column. I have always used Georgio Locatelli's recipe that uses 3 large eggs, 2 large yolks and 500g 00 flour which is also cited by Ms. Cloake, but will leave you to choose your own. I also like to make my pasta dough in advance and freeze it so that when I feel like making ravioli or making a great sauce, the pasta is already done. You will need an additional egg yolk for brushing the ravioli once rolled

For the ravioli filling:
125g of white crabmeat
25g brown crabmeat (sieved)
zest of one third of a lemon
1 clove garlic
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
2 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper
Half a small red chilli, finely diced

For the sauce:
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Half a chilli, chopped
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 basil leaves, finely diced

Once you have made your pasta dough, make the filling and sauce before rolling it. 

For the filling, crushed and gently pan fry the garlic in olive oil until soft but not remotely coloured. Then prepare all the other ingredients and mix them all together thoroughly. 

For the sauce, mix a crushed clove of garlic and the other half of the chilli in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to infuse for half an hour or so. Sieve and add 4 leaves of basil, finely chopped.

Now, roll your pasta into thin sheets. Keep the pasta you are not using straight away under a damp cloth so that it doesn't begin to crack and don't roll too much at one time.

Cut large circles out of the dough, ideally using a cutter and then place 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre.

Now brush the edges around the filling and one side of another circle of pasta with whisked egg yolk. Now place the second circle on top of the filling and carefully press the two sheets of pasta together around the edges until you have a neat, firmly formed ravioli without any air pockets.

Repeat until you have used up the filling and freeze whatever pasta dough you have left for a later date.

Finally, put salted water on a gentle boil and cook the ravioli for a few minutes until they float and the pasta is al dente (you can tear a little of the rim off to check) 

Gently drain, place in a warm dish and drizzle with the sauce.

We served it with a lightly oaked Furmint that we brought back from Budapest