Christmas is often a time when my love of cooking is supported and a new toy arrives from Santa; this time in the guise of my Yolanda’s sister Julia Goolia. This year my new kitchen arrival was a pasta machine; something that I have been intending to buy for some time now. Not wanting to waste time by reading up on techniques on how to use it; I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and make some ravioli for New Year.
Ingredients – Makes about 10 large ravioli
For the pasta:
- 300g of OO grade pasta flour
- 3 large eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
For the filling:
- One salmon fillet
- 175g packet of supermarket scallops – or similar weight of large scallops
- Approximately 80g shelled raw king prawns
- 50ml double cream
- sea salt and black pepper
- Lemon juice
- 1tsp dried chilli flakes
- Fresh basil leaves and white truffle oil to garnish
- a splash of brandy
What to do
- Start by putting the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Break the three eggs into the well and gradually mix the flour into the egg using your hands – you can use a food processor for this but it is not as fun. Once you have a crumb-like consistency tip onto a floured surface and knead until you have a smooth elastic dough – this can take quite a few minutes. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- While the dough is in the fridge remove the skin from the salmon fillet and chop into chunks. Place into a food processor along with about three quarters of the scallops and the cream. Pulse the blender until you have a smooth mousse. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, chilli flakes, and season with salt and pepper before pulsing quickly.
- Place the mixture into a bowl and mix in the chopped chives and parsley; you will want about a handful in all so that there is a nice distribution throughout. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge.
- Heat a frying pan and cook the remaining scallops and the prawns in a little oil and butter. Once the prawns have turned pink add the brandy and flambé. Either do this by tipping the pan toward the flame or by using a match or blow torch – either way be careful as it really goes up. Once the alcohol has burnt off add a further squeeze of lemon and remove from the heat.
- Once the prawns and scallops have cooled chop into smaller pieces, but not too small, and mix into the rest of the ravioli filling.
All well and good so far, this is not a difficult recipe to make. It does, however, get a little tricky now; and remember this was my first time making pasta. I will tell you what I had hoped would happen and tips on avoiding what did actually happen.
- Remove the pasta dough from the fridge and roll out into a rough rectangle on a floured surface. Flour is key in all of the following processes, keep remembering to flour the dough and you may avoid some of the minor disasters I did.
- Cut the dough into two or three pieces and start passing through the pasta machine. Cover the remaining dough so that it does not dry out and ensure you have a lot of work surface space available. Start off on the largest setting and gradually reduce down to the smallest as you go. Always take care to sprinkle the dough with flour before passing through the machine so that it does not stick.
- You are going to end up with a really long sheet of flat pasta. I cut mine down in order to make enough space to work with. You may find that two pieces of the dough is enough. If this is the case place the rest in the fridge and use another day.
- Once you have two long sheets place them on a floured surface before adding spoonfuls of the filling at roughly 8cm intervals. Be careful not to add too much filling, you need enough space round each one to close firmly.
- Brush beaten egg around the edges and between the filling and place the other sheet on top. Press this down as tightly to the filling as possible and using a cookie cutter cut around each of the ravioli leaving a good amount of pasta around each. Try to work as quickly as possible here so that any moisture from the filling does not soften the pasta dough.
- Gently lift each of the ravioli from the surface, use a palette knife if necessary, and gently press round each to remove any air and seal any gaps. Place them into a pan of boiling water for about 1-2 minutes; they will float to the top when cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll. I cooked mine 5 at a time.
- Place on a serving plate and drizzle with the white truffle oil, season with salt and black pepper, and arrange basil leaves over the top.
So there you have my first attempt at making ravioli. I think that it went pretty well apart from a few instances of pasta sticking to the rollers – which is very frustrating – and my pasta was perhaps slightly too thick. The filling was really delicious and the sweetness from the scallops with a slight hint of heat was a satisfying combination. I also liked having the two different textures in the filling coming from the mousse and small chunk of prawn and scallop.
I look forward to coming up with some more pasta recipes and ideas as it really is an enjoyable and satisfying process. It is quite daunting to begin with but once you get into it and start getting used to what you are doing it is a lot of fun. I think that my dough was perhaps not quite right but it was workable. Things to remember are:
- Make sure you give it a really good knead, the dough should be smooth and elastic
- The dough will need to rest and also dries out quickly so cover when not using.
- Do not put too much through the machine at once and make sure you have a lot of space. When rolling two pairs of hands can be better than one.
- Make sure that you lightly dust with flour before putting through the machine to stop it sticking.
- Have fun.