Homemade ravioli are my specialty. I love to serve them at dinner parties and delight my guests with those parcels of delicate pasta with a scrumptious stuffing. The keys to good ravioli are to make the pasta as thin as possible, to make sure the parcels are closed tightly without any trapped air, to give the stuffing an interesting texture, and to slight over-season the stuffing. Good ravioli hardly need a sauce — some extra virgin olive oil, some melted butter with sage, or a simple thin tomato sauce will do.
I had made shrimp ravioli before, but the last time was before I started blogging (so more than three years ago). These shrimp ravioli are served in a pink sauce: a tomato sauce with cream. All of the flavor of the shrimp goes into the stuffing, as the heads and shells are turned into a stock and then reduced to a shrimp ‘syrup’ that is added to the stuffing. The balance between the flavors in the stuffing (lemon zest, cayenne pepper, salt, shrimp syrup, shrimp, thyme, and ricotta) is important. If all goes well, it will become one new multi-layered flavor rather than tasting the individual elements. The texture of the stuffing of these shrimp ravioli is so light it is almost fluffy and it has a delicious elegant flavor.
For the stuffing
450 grams (1 lb) medium shrimp with heads and shells
zest of 1 lemon
200 grams ricotta (preferably homemade)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil
For the pasta
200 grams Italian 00 flour
For the pink sauce
750 grams (1.7 lb) ripe plum tomatoes
125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
1 Tbsp (clarified) butter
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Start by making the shrimp syrup. Peel the shrimps, reserving the heads and shells. You should end up with about 250 grams (9 oz) of shrimp meat. Refrigerate the shrimp meat. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the heads and shells.
Make pasta dough from 2 eggs and 200 grams 00 flour according to my instructions, wrap it in plastic foil and allow it to rest for 30-60 minutes.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic clove and cook it until it is golden on all sides. Regulate the heat so you don’t burn the butter (or the garlic). This is easier with clarified butter. Discard the garlic.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting and make ravioli stuffed with the shrimp stuffing according to my instructions.
This needs a dry Italian white with a good balance between roundness and freshness to go well with the pink sauce (i.e. the freshness/acidity of the tomatoes and the roundness/creaminess of the cream). We enjoyed the ravioli with a Ferentano from Falesco, a slightly oaked white from the roscetto variety from Lazio, which was an outstanding match.
Two years ago I compared pan-seared wagyu flank steak with the same wagyu flank steak cooked sous-vide first and then seared. Wagyu flank steak cooked 48 hours at 55ºC/131ºF first is still pink, but turned out to be much more tender than the steak that is simply seared.