Scallop and parsnip ravioli is a dish that I came up with five years ago and I already blogged about back then, but my photos were pretty terrible back then, I had hardly any followers, and besides I have made some improvements to the recipe. And so, just in time for Christmas, I am presenting it to you again. Scallops and parsnip work very well together, and some tarragon accentuates the flavors. This version is lighter than the previous one as in this version I don’t use cream. The flavor of both scallops and parsnips is enhanced by some nice caramelization. And instead of serving the ravioli with tarragon butter, I’ve mounted a tarragon infusion with butter. These ravioli are wonderful for a festive dinner. All of this great flavor packed into a delicate parcel is simply exquisite.
For about 32 ravioli, serves 2 as a main course or 4 to 6 as one of many courses
200 grams (7 oz) peeled parsnip
200 grams (7 oz) scallops, plus 2 more for garnish
2 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon, plus more fresh tarragon for the infusion
7 Tbsp butter (100 grams)
1/2 tsp baking soda
salt and freshly ground white pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice
fresh pasta dough made with 2 eggs, and about 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) Italian 00 flour
An easy way to make caramelized parsnips is in the pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the parsnips over high heat instead.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in the pressure cooker.
Mix 2 tablespoons of water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and add this mixture to the butter.
Add 200 grams of parsnips, cut into pieces.
Bring to pressure, and then cook for 20 minutes.
After those 20 minutes, run water on top of the pressure cooker to release the pressure.
The parsnips should now be nicely caramelized without being burnt.
Cut all parsnips in halves horizontally and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve 4 halves for garnish.
Brown the scallops on both sides in 2 tablespoons of butter, not more than 1 minute per side. (Use fresh scallops for this, frozen scallops will release a lot of water and won’t brown.)
Transfer the scallops to a food processor, including all of the drippings in the pan. Use a silicone spatula to get all of the flavor out of the pan and into the food processor.
Process the scallops together with the parsnips and a tablespoon of minced tarragon until you get a coarse puree. Do not process too long to maintain some structure.
Season the filling to taste with salt, freshly ground white pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice (only a bit of lemon juice, you shouldn’t really taste lemon as a separate flavor; it is only intended to freshen up the flavor). Remember that ravioli filling should always be seasoned a bit more with salt and pepper than you think when you taste it separately.
Cover the filling and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow it to firm up.
Make pasta dough, allow it to rest, and then follow my instructions for making ravioli.
You should end up with about 32 pieces, but you could make them smaller or larger as you prefer. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the ravioli.
Put some tarragon in saucepan with about 250 ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until the water has been reduced by half. Discard the tarragon.
Whisk small pieces of cold butter into the tarragon infusion until the sauce thickens somewhat. Season with salt.
The sauce should be buttery with a hint of tarragon.
When the water boils, add salt and the ravioli. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes only.
In the meantime, quickly brown the reserved scallops in butter and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Serve the ravioli on preheated plates with the tarragon butter sauce, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of minced tarragon, and garnish with a scallop. (Do not add parmigiano!)
This is great with an oaked buttery chardonnay from a sunny climate like California or Sicily. It worked very well with this 2010 Chardonnay from the Sicilian producer Planeta. A golden wine with balance and complexity. The caramelized flavors of the parsnip and scallops work very well with toasted oak, and the butteriness from the malolactic fermentation works well with well, the butter. You can improve the wine pairing by adjusting the amount of lemon juice in the filling (or, if you notice at the table the wine is too acidic for the dish, by adding a few drops of lemon juice on the ravioli).
Swine tenderloin with a balsamic reduction is a great dish for the holidays, whether your swine of choice is regular pork or wild boar.