First off, thanks to everyone who entered the Chavrie Giveaway. I used the random number generator to pick a winner and it’s CaSaundra. CaSaundra, expect an e-mail from me so I can get your details and have the Chavrie folks send your prize your way.
When we last left off with my crab extravaganza I had made Maryland Crab, Shrimp and Bacon Chowder. But my crab kick hardly ended there. A half bushel of Maryland crabs, which was what I purchased, yields about 30-35 crabs, so I still had quite a bit of crab to eat through. For my next recipe I decided to make some luscious Maryland Crab and Goat Cheese Ravioli based on a recipe from Cooking Light.
Because really, with such a treasure of an ingredient as crab there had to be ravioli. I’m not sure if it’s because I am part Italian (Sicilian to be precise, which could also explain the innate love of seafood) or maybe it’s just the fact that like many Americans, I am an admitted carb addict, but I adore ravioli. Without fail, I order them at restaurants. And when I have the time, I enjoy the process of making them at home. I love the rolling, the filling, and the shaping. I love the mash up of mess and precision. If calories and fat didn’t exist I think I’d make them everyday to eat for every meal. But alas they do, so I keep these tasty filled delights as occasional treats.
These sumptuous ravioli start off with a filling of crab meat, finely chopped bell pepper, panko, scallions, lovely chevre, and a blend of shredded Italian cheeses. I knew this filling was going to be a winner because much like citrus, which pairs so well with seafood, chevre has a lovely tanginess to it. Add in crisp bell pepper and the filling was wonderfully balanced and a uniquely fresh and indulgent at the same time.
Rather using the wonton wrappers the original recipe called for, I enveloped the filling in my tried and true fresh pasta, which is silken and lovely thanks to a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks. You could certainly use wonton wrappers in a pinch, but I love the flavor of good egg pasta and find it worth a little extra work. The beauty of this dough is it does keep well so you could certainly freeze the rest to keep on hand whenever a pasta craving strikes. (I know I personally pack it away in the freezer lovingly, imagining I’ll pull it out some distant date in the future only to instead defrost it a few days later. But such is life.)
And of course, what would ravioli be without a delicious and flavorful sauce. Again, I deviated from the original recipe. The original had a tomato-based clam sauce, but commenters on CookingLight.com remarked that they felt it overwhelmed the subtle flavors of crab and goat cheese. Accordingly, I opted for something I knew would pair well – a simple white wine sauce. I love white wine sauces for recipes like this because they allow the flavor of the shellfish to shine through. I also used mine to amp up the crab flavor of the dish by including seafood stock that I made from my leftover crab shells using a fantastic recipe from Elise of Simply Recipes. Of course if you don’t have any on hand you can certainly use a store-bought seafood or fish stock or in a pinch, vegetable broth.
The result was pure pleasure. As expected, the tanginess of the goat cheese really enhanced the flavor of the crab and the white wine sauce added a bit of richness to the dish without masking the taste of the crab. I also enjoyed the occasional pop of crunch from the bell pepper and the sweetness it provided, which definitely echos and enhances the sweetness in the crab itself.
This recipe does entail a bit of work, but I found the end dish to be entirely worth it.
Adapted from Cooking Light
-12 ounces crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
-1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
-2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
-1 tablespoon sliced scallions
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-6 ounces chevre (fresh goat cheese), room temperature
-1/4 Italian Cheese Blend (I used Whole Foods 365 brand) or Parmesan cheese
-1/2 recipe fresh pasta dough
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
-1 tablespoon all purpose flour
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 cup seafood stock
-1 tablespoon fresh oregano
-1/2 teaspoon Chile Crunch or red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup Italian Cheese Blend or Parmesan cheese
-Fresh black pepper and sea salt to taste
To prepare ravioli filling, mix together crabmeat, bell pepper, panko, scallions, salt, goat cheese, and Italian cheese Blend until well combined.
To assemble the ravioli, cut the pasta dough into 4 portions and work with 1 portion at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. Lightly dust the work surface the flour. With the pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll out the dough about 20 inches long and 4 inches wide. Brush the dough with egg wash and arrange 9 to 10 balls of filling on the lower third of the length of the dough, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. fold the top half over to cover the balls. Press the dough around each ball to seal, making sure that you do not have any air pockets. With a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the ravioli. (Alternatively, you could prepare your ravioli using a ravioli press like the one I have pictured above. In this case, roll your pasta sheets out to match the size of your mold and fill the cavities with filling accordingly.)
Dust a tray with flour and arrange the ravioli on the tray, dusting with more flour. Repeat with the remaining dough, egg wash, and filling. Refrigerate, covered, until needed.
To prepare the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes or until garlic starts to soften. Add white wine to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in stock, oregano, Chile Crunch or red pepper flakes, and cheese; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Fill a large Dutch oven with water; bring water to a boil. Add half of ravioli; cook 4 minutes or until done. Drain ravioli and toss lightly with sauce.
What about you? Do you have a favorite way to eat crab?