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Usually I’m the person who wants to get in and out of the grocery story as quickly as possible. I know what I want, I know where it is, and that’s that. Yesterday was one of those days when I felt like exploring everything, so naturally I ended up with a live lobster in my cart. Makes sense, right? (Note sarcasm.) There were two 13-ish year old boys who were fascinated by the live lobster being removed from the tank. They took a video of the employee removing it, and asked me what I was going to do with it. I’m probably on their Snapchat (whatever that is) or Instagram or something, along with Fred the 1.35lb lobster.
I felt a little guilty about what would be Fred’s fate later in the evening, and kind of wanted to keep him as a pet. But that wasn’t going to happen because I knew he’d be delicious. And don’t ask me why I named him Fred. It just seemed to fit.
I also had some filets in my cart, so I could’ve easily don’t filet and lobster tail. I had filet for dinner two nights ago, though, so I didn’t really want to do that again. I did, however, answer a fellow shopper’s question, “You look like you know what you’re doing. [Pointing at tenderloin steak] I’m looking for filet mignon. Is this it?” … followed by a short cooking lesson because she didn’t know how to make it. I also directed some other shoppers to the tortilla strips. Maybe a sign I’m in Wegmans too much?
So why bother cooking a live lobster for ravioli instead of just getting lobster meat? A lot of work, right? Seriously, you could just buy lobster meat, or even buy some frozen lobster tails and cook those for this recipe. Also, a lot of grocery stores sell sheets of pasta in the refrigerated section, so you can always buy those too instead of making your own if you don’t have a pasta roller or are short on time.
Ingredients – Ravioli Filling
One small lobster (1.25ish lbs)
8oz ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated asiago cheese
Leaves from 2 sprigs tarragon, finely minced
¼ tsp salt
Ingredients – Pasta Dough
2½ cups flour + more for dusting
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Ingredients – Sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, grated using a lemon zester
1 large tomato, seeds and juice removed, and diced
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup vegetable or seafood stock
Salt to taste
Grated parmesan (optional, for topping)
The instructions are broken down into the following sections:
- Cook the lobster (you can start the rest of the filling while he’s cooking)
- Make the filling
- Make the sauce
- Make the paste dough and assemble ravioli
- Put it all together!
Cooking the Lobster
I learned how to humanely kill a lobster from Gordon Ramsey on MasterChef a few seasons ago (see video here). If you’ve never done this before, make sure you have an excellent and super sharp chef’s knife so you can humanely kill your lobster. I am not kidding when I say your chef’s knife needs to be in good shape and SHARP. Please don’t put your lobster through agony because your knife is dull. Please also do not put your lobster through agony because you’re too afraid to push hard enough to slice through his head.
Once you’ve humanely killed your lobster, you’ll want to boil it for about 7 minutes. I considered cooking him for less time since it would get some additional cooking when the ravioli cooks, but I didn’t want to take the risk of undercooked lobster. It’s cut into small pieces for the filling anyway, so the rubbery texture (if overcooked) would not be as noticeable.
Combine the ricotta, asiago, tarragon, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Remove the lobster meat from the shell, and chop it into small pieces. Wait for it to cool before stirring it into the filling. Cover the filling and set aside.
Preheat saute pan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the shallots start to become translucent. Stir the entire time they’re cooking.
Add flour to the pan to make a roux. Keep stirring so the flour doesn’t burn. You’ll likely have paste-like gobs of flour-shallot-garlic, which is OK. Cook for a few minutes until the roux gets blond. Add heavy cream and stock tomatoes. Bring to a boil (stirring the whole time so the cream doesn’t burn), add tomatoes, then reduce to a simmer. Your sauce should be starting to thicken. Use an immersion blender to puree the shallots and tomatoes. I left some tomato chunks because I didn’t want it them entirely liquified. Add salt to taste.
Keep sauce warm on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Pasta Dough & Assembling Ravioli
Scoop flour onto work surface. Make a well in the center. Add salt. Add one egg and start to incorporate with a fork. Be careful not to kill the walls of your well or it’ll get unnecessarily messy fast! Continue to add eggs one at a time, incorporating more of the flour after each one. Add the olive oil, continue to incorporate everything until it becomes doughy. You will get your hands dirty. You will reach a point where it’s clear you can’t do any more with the fork and you just need to use your hands. Once you have a dough ball, knead, knead, knead for several minutes.
Roll out the pasta dough and put it through the pasta machine. Start on the widest setting and work your way thinner. I went to #6 (out of 8) on the KitchenAid pasta roller. Lay out sheets on a lightly floured surface.
Add filling at even intervals down the middle of a dough sheet. How much filling you need will depend on the size of your ravioli. Lay another piece of dough over the top. Press to seal all around the filling. Cut out the shapes using a pastry wheel or ravioli stamp. Set them aside on a lightly floured surface.
Cook Ravioli & Finish!
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook ravioli for about 6 minutes. To check for doneness, test an edge since this is the thickest part that takes longest to cook. Use a spider spoon to transfer the ravioli to the pan with the sauce. Let them cook together for a few minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl for serving. Top with grated parmesan (optional).