For Valentine’s Day this year, I wanted to make something completely from scratch and absolutely delicious. And, for Lent I had just decided to give up meat… so that cut a few things off the possibility list. Which wasn’t really a problem, because I’m still eating fish (which is the fanciest of all the proteins anyway). Cue fancy seafood Valentine’s dinner 🙂
I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I think of ravioli, I always first think of cheesy and sometimes meaty. These ravioli totally threw that notion on its head, and I’m not complaining! The filling is a combination of onion, peppers, spices and crab. And canned crab at that… But trust me, it works.
I made this filling with a recipe I found at Better Homes and Garden’s Mix-and-Match Ravioli Fillings & Sauces and chose the crab filling and creamy vino sauce. You can get their super simple dough recipe there too. But OMG, I think that sauce would be good on a pile of dirt. You can’t really go wrong with a cream and cheese sauce.
First things first, you gotta make the ravioli dough. Aa was my personal photog, because he wanted to make sure I was going to put this one on the blog. He’s so supportive 🙂 And good thing he was. Or I wouldn’t have had any photos to share along with this recipe success.
Before I tried making it the first time on my own, pasta dough was very intimidating. But it’s actually quite easy to make fresh pasta. Although technique can be cultivated over years and years of experience, the novice chef can make a really wonderful fresh pasta too.
Clean your counter-top. Plop 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour down in a mound and make a well in the center. Crack two eggs in there and beat them slightly with a fork. Incorporate the egg into the dough until it makes a ball. Then just knead it a little bit, about 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s not sticky and slightly pliable. Cover with plastic wrap and walk away from that little bundle of goodness. It needs to rest for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can make this dough the night before and just stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Let it come to room temperature for a few minutes before you try to roll it out. This is when I made the simple and tasty crab filling (see below).
After it’s been at least 30 minutes, you just roll out the dough to your desired thickness. You can use a rolling pin if that’s all you have. I am lucky to have not one, but TWO hand-crank pasta machines. So I have one at home and one that I left at Aa’s house.
I started at setting 7 (which is the largest on my crank), and went down to setting 5 to make it slightly thinner. You don’t want them too thin or they’ll fall apart in the water and your filling will get lost in the pot – instead of in your mouth.
Get an egg wash ready (just beat up one egg in a little bowl with about a tablespoon of water). Lay out one sheet of dough, place little mounds of the filling along it, and brush between the mounds with the egg wash. At home, I have a nice little brush to use for this, but I had to just use a finger. Sometimes nature’s tools work just fine!
Press another sheet of pasta dough on top and seal around the edges of each filling mound. Cut out with a knife or a cookie cutter if you have an appropriately sized one handy.
Set a big pot of salted water to boil and carefully drop them in. These little guys boil up in about five minutes so watch them. While I got the water up to a boil, I prepared the cream sauce so it would all be ready to go when the ravioli were done.
I plated just a couple of ravioli on each plate (because they were pretty big) with a generous drizzle of the cream sauce. So good.
I really loved this entire dinner (scallops, Caesar salad and ravioli, with some wine of course), but the star for me was the ravioli.
The other dishes I served with the ravioli were from my all time favorite website Food52.com. They seriously hit the mark when it comes to everything food. They have really great recipes, featured restaurants, and a really awesome store for kitchen goodies.
The Pan Roasted Scallops were to die for. This link shows you exactly how to cook the scallops, with photos, and includes a tasty sauce to pour over them.
And this Balsamic Caesar Salad is in constant rotation at the Albanese abode. Follow the recipe exactly. After I had started with the dressing, I realized that we didn’t have Worcestershire sauce, which I thought, hmmm, maybe we can just omit it… No way. Thank goodness we borrowed some because it’s just not the same without it. And don’t be scared of the anchovy paste. Aa is a strong adversary of all things anchovy and he conceded that it was delicious and not overwhelmingly fishy at all.
Go make this meal for a special someone, or for yourself on a random Tuesday. Whatever the occasion, I highly recommend these crab filled pasta treats. And the scallops. And the salad. YUM.
Crab Ravioli Filling
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (if you’re like me, add another clove or two)
1 6 ounce can crabmeat (this is easier and cheaper than fresh crab, and just as good)
1/4 teaspoon zested or grated lemon peel
The juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons drained capers (if you don’t like capers, trust me on this one)
A couple twists freshly cracked black pepper
In a medium skillet, melt the butter and saute bell pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in crab, lemon peel, lemon juice, capers, and fresh black pepper. Set aside to cool before filling the ravioli.
Creamy Vino Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
A couple twists freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a sauvingnon blanc, from BevMo’s 5-cent wine sale duh)
A good pile of shredded Pecorino Romano, about a 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons chiffonaded fresh basil (aka rolled up and sliced very thinly)
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute cook garlic over medium heat for just about 1 minutes careful not to burn. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add cream and wine. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cheese. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in parsley and basil.