Saturday, June 15, 2013

Scampi Style Lobster Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Ragout and Pesto Bread (At Work)

   This dish was inspired by National Lobster Day.  Raviolis are usually pretty popular and today was no exception.  And given the fact that they had lobster in them, well, let's just say I knew I was in for a busy day.

   The first thing I prepared today were the peppers for my ragout. While this was not a true ragout, but more of a ciambotta. It served as basically a topping for my raviolis.  So, like I said, the first thing to do was to roast my peppers.  After they were roasted, cooled and cleaned I diced them up for my dish.  Next I sauteed some freshly chopped garlic in oil.  I allowed the garlic to become aromatic and then seasoned it lightly with salt and pepper.  When the garlic was ready, I tossed in some canned artichoke hearts, allowing them to start heating up and cooking.  I also used some unroasted diced red peppers to add bulk and a contrast in textures.  The last thing I added to the pan was my roasted peppers and some crushed tomatoes.  You don't want to add the roasted peppers too early since they are already cooked.  The crushed tomatoes helped to add body to everything.  I adjusted my seasoning and added some fresh parsley at the very end.

   The pesto bread was also quite easy to make.  All I did was take some baguettes and slice them in half.  I then spread pesto on each half and cut them diagonally to make my individual pieces.  I then put the bread in a 350F degree oven for about five minutes.  You want to make your bread crusty, but still leave the center soft.  Now for the home cook you can easily buy pesto sauce from your grocery store or you can make your own. 

   The lobster raviolis were no problem at all. Given that they were already made and all I had to do was boil/cook them.  A little addendum to that.  When cooking stuffed pastas like ravioli or tortellini, you can tell when they are done cooking when the pasta begins to float.  Now, let me pull back the curtain on the professional kitchen, or at the very least, my kitchen.  While we try to do a lot of things ourselves from scratch, some things are just too time consuming and labor intensive to do.  It cases like this where our talents can be used on other things that we buy stuff pre-made. 

   Scampi usually refers to a large shrimp or langoustine that has been cooked and served in a garlic butter sauce.  So to make this dish scampi style, I made a garlic lemon butter sauce.  I started by sauteing plenty of garlic in oil.  Once the garlic softened I added a little white wine and lemon juice.  I waited for that to reduce slightly before I added more water.  After everything came up to a boil, I thickened the mixture with a little corn starch.  Then I slowly whisked in enough butter to give the sauce its velvety texture and buttery flavor.  I seasoned it with salt and white pepper.  I even made a little extra so that I could toss my ravioli in the sauce before being put on the plate.

   The last thing that accompanied this dish was a side salad.  Nothing to fancy here, just a mixture of romaine lettuce with spring mix as the base.  I used shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes to mix in with my lettuce.  As a dressing I used a zesty Italian.  I would premix some of my salad and have it ready for when orders would come in.  The last thing I want to do is waste time making a salad for each individual customer.

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