love making homemade pasta, especially raviolis. I love making raviolis so much that when I can’t sleep, I actually lie there thinking up new ravioli recipes in my head. This pretty much proves my level of obsession with food.
One night, I was working through an idea for a crab ravioli filling and got really stuck on what sort of sauce would work best for it. It needed to be something delicate as to not over power the crab’s clean, fresh flavor. I also knew it need to be thick enough to stick to the silky homemade pasta dough. Butter seemed the obvious choice, but I didn’t want a greasy, heavy dish. I wanted a sauce that would feel light and inspired by spring, and would elevate the crab, and not disguise it. Pea. Pea puree, I thought. And what if I cut it with a drizzle of olive oil for a added level of depth and fresh lemon zest for some brightness? Mmmm…this could work, I thought.
It took a few weeks for me to really work through the ingredients that I wanted to use and exploring the best possible combination of flavors. I was trying to imagine how the flavors and textures would come together. Finally, decisions were made and finally, it was time to see if I could take the recipe I developed in my head, to a plate. I couldn’t wait to find out if it would be as good as I imagined it could be.
It’s an extremely satistfying feeling to bring a dish to life and have it look and taste just the way you imagined it could. This happened with this dish. It tasted and plated exactly how I had envisioned it.
The lemon zest seasoned the crab while lightening the hearty ricotta. The fresh herbs in the crab mixture helped tie the pea sauce to the ravioli filling and also introduced refreshing flavor notes. The ricotta cheese bound everything together in wonderful harmony. The delicate homemade pasta dough ensured a silky texture that carried through the entire dish. It was delicate and delicious. I can’t wait see what recipe I come up with the next time I can’t sleep!
Fresh Crab, lemon zest and pea puree come together for a perfect savory spring dish
- 1 cup fresh lump crab, picked over for shells and dried
- .5 cup whole milk ricotta Calabro brand
- 1.5 tsp very finely minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp very finely minced fresh dill leaves
- 3 tbsp good quality freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/8 tsp very fine fresh grated pepper (about 8 turns on pepper mill)
- 3/4-1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lemon finely zested (for filling mixture)
- A few longer strands of grated lemon peel for garnish
Combine all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Use the back of a fork and work your way around the bowl to combine ingredients very, very well. The crab should be broken down and the mixture should be similar to a spreadable cheese. (Optional: Add mixture into a piping bag)
Using your favorite fresh pasta recipe, roll out your dough into sheets and prepare your dough for filling.
Fill raviolis with about a teaspoon of mixture, or as much as is needed for your ravioli frame.
After raviolis are sealed, set onto a tray lined with parchment, and heavily floured with semolina so the raviolis do not stick to the parchment. Keep cold.
Cook raviolis for about 3 minutes in boiling, salted water. Gently add to sauce pan and plate raviolis with extra crab. Garnish with lemon zest peels. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot.
I used the following recipe as the basis of my pea puree with some personal changes along the way. You can use any light, pea or a pea and mint soup recipe, and adjust it to the right thickness and flavor profile. Just make sure it is very silky & smooth.