Lobster Ravioli with Champagne Cream Sauce

Christey and I met when I was living in Treasure Island, Florida, a suburb of St Petersburg. A block away from my house was one of our favorite restaurants, Karim’s Bistro, a Moroccan/Mediterranean place located in one of the gaudiest hotels on the beach. Karim has since opened his own stand-alone restaurant a short walk away, The Pearl.

One of Karim’s signature dishes was a lobster ravioli in a champagne cream sauce. There are a bunch of other restaurants that have a lobster ravioli, it’s not an original concept, but Karim’s was my favorite.

My birthday was last month, and I got a pasta machine, something on my to-buy list for a while. So, for my inaugural pasta event, I decided to try to reproduce (as much as I could), my favorite version of lobster ravioli.

I have to admit, I haven’t made pasta since I was a pre-teen, helping my grandmother. I also make no secret of the fact that I’m not much of a baker. Pasta is sorta a mix between savory cooking and baking, in my opinion. There’s a precision that isn’t as pronounced with cooking. I could go on about the nuances, but I’ll just cut to the chase and say: the ravioli is definitely something to make ahead. Starting this recipe at 7:30 on a Friday night means a long, involved cooking epic in which dinner may not hit the table until 10.

But it was so very worth it.

Here we go. I used Tyler Florence’s pasta recipe (check the FoodTV website). 2 cups flour, a teaspoon of salt. I started mixing, and added 3 eggs, one at a time, and let each be incorporated fully. Then, I added a tablespoon of olive oil.

Yeah, I could have mounded everything up and made a bowl, and added the eggs…but there’s that whole baking thing again, and I took a shortcut. It was bad enough that I had to kneed for 10 minutes.

That last picture is a tip I got from one of Alton Brown’s shows — the front-lighting in picture makes it a little hard to see, but if you stretch a bit of dough (like a little pizza) and it’s semi-transparent on the inside, then the glutens are happy and you can stop kneading. If the center breaks before you can sorta kinda see through it, then keep kneading.

The dough rests for 30 minutes or so, with a bit of olive oil spread on the surface of the dough to keep it from drying out.

Meanwhile, I started the ravioli filling. I fine-diced half a shallot, then chopped some criminis (baby portabellas). I also had my lobster claw meat (already boiled and shelled), left over from the lobster tail meal from the day before.

I heated a pan and threw in a couple tablespoons of butter until melted and bubbly. I threw in the shallots until translucent, the mushrooms until a little soft, then the lobster claw meat. I sautéed until the lobster was hot — not quite seared, but definitely feeling the butter.

The mixture is then tossed on the chopping board, minced, then put in a bowl.

I added a chunk of parmesan reggiano, and 1/4 cup ricotta, and mixed.

Next, was the sauce. I rough-chopped the other half shallot, sliced a carrot thinly, and sautéed in hot butter.

Once the shallots were translucent and the carrots were soft, I added a tablespoon of tomato purée while the vegetables were still sizzling. The tomato will caramelize a bit, a term the French call pince. It gets just a little brown, and the smell changes from concentrated tomato to a very sweet and complex aroma.

When the tomato is pince, I added a cup of lobster stock (made with lobster bodies a month or two back — chicken or shrimp stock would work, too), and a half-cup of sparkling wine.

This is left on a slow simmer to reduce to about 1/3rd it’s original volume. Later, I’ll add roux and cream, which will make it basically a lobster sauce suprême with added tomato, so maybe a lobster sauce suprême aurore… but I’m not going to go into Escoffier nuances again :)

So, pasta time, which ended up almost being my undoing. The dough had rested, and I followed the instructions, feeding the dough through the machine, flouring, folding in half, moving down the numbers from the widest setting (7) to the lowest (1).

It took a while, but I got a nice sheet of semi-transparent, very thin dough. I spooned a few ravioli centers, washed the outside with egg-wash, covered with the other half of the dough, pressed out the air, and cut into rounds (with an espresso cup).

That was the first five ravioli. The next batches of dough fought me tooth and nail. The dough tore, fell apart, bunched up, stuck together, and generally behaved in an unsocial manner. After acquiring a healthy mountain of discarded dough, and covered with flour, I finally got into a groove. A bit of flour between runs, not too much, not too little. Cutting off the excess so the dough doesn’t get unwieldy. Recognizing when the dough is overworked and just deciding to punt, instead of trying to smooth it out and hope it gets better. I started to get it, and feel what the dough was doing. But, it took me a good hour to get to that point. I don’t know why the first five ravioli were pretty decent, but two more batches of roll, fill, cover, cut took me maybe 90 minutes to get the next eight or so complete.

But! I finally did it.

At this point, the sauce was well reduced, of course, even at a very slow simmer (I took it off the heat at one point while I was still cursing the dough in several languages). I added the cream and roux and simmered it to thicken.

I had a boiling pot of water on, salted generously, and I put half the batch of ravioli and reduced to a low boil.

Once the pasta was done (about 3-5 minutes), I strained the shallots and carrots out of the sauce (they had done their job), pushing the sauce through the strainer.

And, it was done! Plating was ravioli, sauce, and some shallots for garnish and a bit of bite.

Deconstruction: Okay, I definitely need to practice my dough-making. This would be a great weekend recipe where the ravioli are made in the morning or afternoon, then stored until dinner, which could have been banged out in 30 minutes if the ravioli were ready. Learning experience.

That said — Oh. My. God. This was really good. The homemade pasta dough was delicate, the lobster/mushroom/shallot filling was buttery and wonderful. The sauce was absolutely decadent beyond words. I think the pince tomato purée added so much depth of flavor to the sauce, an earthy base that the rich lobster stock and the thick cream complemented in a wonderful trinity. Maybe not quite as good as Karim’s, but I’ll take this over a dozen chain Italian restaurant versions.

Comments

  1. Mary919 says:

    Good gawd. Be still my heart. I think lobster ravioli may be the one of the sexiest foods on earth. I love the picture where the pasta sheet is all ruffled under the maker and also the one where it’s spread on the counter and all the ones where you’re putting the ravioli together. The ingredients look amazing in every picture and you can tell by looking at these pictures that the end product was delicious. Great work.

  2. Tee says:

    You guys keep making me hungry (and gee, find your photo niche much? These are fantastic..).

  3. Wow! We made fresh tortelloni the other day with our pasta machine (is yours an Imperia too? Looks like ours) with spinach and ricotta with a tomato and butter sauce. Husband is vegetarian, otherwise I would have happily had a lobster filling…

  4. natalie says:

    wow! that looks amazing!! i love lobster ravioli, but have never tried making it myself!! that cream sauce looks devine!

  5. jillian says:

    These look absolutely heavenly!! I love lobster and ravioli but i haven’t made fresh pasta in forever. Your pictures are enough to motivate me.

  6. pierta says:

    All i can say is WOW and pass the fork please. Nice job!

  7. Ragdoll says:

    Wonderful tutorial and photos. Looks definately worth the effort. Well done!

  8. petermarcus says:

    Mary — That pasta just about made me throw the whole thing in the ocean, but I think I learned a lot. It was certainly worth it :)

    Tee — Hey there! If your wanderlust ever takes you to more humid locations, you know there will always be plates waiting for you guys.

    WFG — Mine’s a knock-off, but it seems to have done the job, once I stopped fighting with the dough. I was a vegetarian for a while, and I bet a vegetable stock and a four-cheese filling would come out pretty close :)

    Natalie — This was my first time, too. It tasted better than I imagined, but definitely not a last-minute meal. Next time, I’ll make the ravioli in advance as its own project.

    Jillian — Thanks! I’ve been wanting to make pasta for a while, and even though it almost killed me, I think I’m ready for the next few attempts. The end is definitely worth the struggle!

    Pierta — Thanks! Unfortunately, there were no leftovers ;)

    Ragdoll — Thank you! It was a lot of effort, but I think next time will flow a little more smoothly!

  9. Shannon says:

    WOW.. This looks absolutly amazing. I want to try it but i’ve never made homemade pasta in my life and I’ve never worked with lobster before. :) Maybe someday I’ll dive in and try it. Man its so tempting.

  10. wow. Great pictures. I know how long it takes to make pasta and I’m sure it took even longer taking so many fantastic pictures along the way. Very nice.

  11. brilynn says:

    That looks absolutely phenomenal, if there’s something greater than lobster and pasta I don’t know what it is!

  12. Hillary says:

    I love all the delicious step by step photos! I’m craving lobster now, and I have to say I prefer circular ravioli to square :)

  13. tm1nor says:

    cant wait to try this! looks yummy guys

  14. petermarcus says:

    Shannon — If a pasta amateur like me can crank them out, believe me, anyone can. Just make sure you have some time on your hands!

    Wind — Christey does a good job of shooting while I work. It definitely takes longer when we’re shooting than if I were just cooking, but not as much as it would seem.

    Brilynn — I don’t think it’s coincidence that lobster ravioli is on so many menus. It’s a great combo.

    Hillary — I do too, but the circular ends up with a lot more leftover bits of dough.

    Tm1nor — Thanks, it was really great for a first attempt!

  15. dlyn says:

    I found this recipe via Foodgawker – I just got a pasta machine and plan to try making fresh pasta next week – nice to see another newbie was able to get it right on the first try. Lovely recipe, though I don’t understand the concept of leftover lobster – we never have any leftover here. :)

  16. petermarcus says:

    Dlyn — Expect it to take a lot of time, with a lot of dough scraps ;)

  17. susan says:

    hey there! your ravioli dish looks and sounds so delicious. i have a past roller too but i haven’t really gotten around to putting it to good use. the thought of eating those lobster ravioli is pretty motivating tho.

  18. Lucy says:

    These ravioli’s look amazing, and just loving the lobster filling. I had been having an urge for homemade rav’s and recently made butternut squash rav’s . My next venture into making them I must try lobster, sounds heavenly!

  19. Peter — So, what’s the deal with the recipe? I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and make this, but there’s no recipe that I can find on this page. I tried extracting a recipe from your descriptions, but there are some gaps. Can you post it? (Gorgeous photographs!)

  20. petermarcus says:

    Janis — I’m really more of a technique person than a recipe. I used a recipe for the dough (Tyler Florence’s version, which is: here ) but for the rest, I winged it based partially on past experience (like the sauce), and partially on guesswork. I’ll break down some approximations:

    For the ravioli filling:
    5-6 big (~6oz) criminis, chopped
    meat from 4 lobster claws, chopped
    1/2 medium shallot, chopped
    2 tbsp butter
    (above are sauteed together, then minced)
    1/4 cup grated parm reggiano
    1/4 cup ricotta

    Champagne sauce:
    1/2 medium shallot, chopped
    1 carrot, sliced thinly
    1 tbsp butter
    1 tbsp tomato puree
    1 cup lobster stock (chicken stock is fine)
    1/2 cup sparkling wine
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1 tbsp roux (1 tbsp flour, 1 tbsp butter, heated together separately until sizzling then taken off the heat and added to the sauce)

    That’s pretty much it for the ingredients, the technique and order of putting things together is documented above, but if you have any questions about an ingredient or an amount, feel free to ask.

  21. Tim Langford says:

    Excellant ,very detailed and most important down to earth (laymans terms).Two of my favorite tv chefs are Alton B. & Tyler F.I would be interested on any other recipes you may have .Thanks ,Tim

  22. Birgit says:

    My son made it yesterday, christmas eve. Wonderfull…..a dream.
    I often make pasta, but I never use oil for the dough. Just 1 egg and 100g flour per person. (here I used 4 eggs , 400g flour + the 1 yellow, the 1 egg wash I need for closing the ravioli)
    Also I cut out first the round ravioli, then fill and close it. So I have no remains of the dough.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  23. Thanks very much for posting the recipe! Took me nearly three months to check back and find it, but it was a happy surprise. I appreciate it.

  24. Cheree Dumas says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I am going to make it for my Joe Joe on Valentines Day for dinner. A little Champagne for the sauce and a little Champagne for the cook. :)

  25. Cake says:

    This looks wonderful, I’m planning on making it tonight!!! Question though, based on your recipe, how many ravioli did this make?

  26. petermarcus says:

    Cake — I figured about 8 per person, so 16 or so in this case. It’s pretty rich, so a couple either way is fine depending on hunger level and tolerance. But, this was my first serious attempt at pasta in years, so there was a lot of waste in the form of overworked dough, which had to be thrown out. If you’re familiar with pasta, you could probably make twice as much from the same dough recipe.

  27. Alexandra says:

    I recently came across your blog a few days ago while looking for a sauce to pair with lobster ravioli. The rav’s were delicious.and so was the sauce! The sauce was a bit sweet for me..perhaps I was heavy on the champagne?

    Anyway…photos are wonderful and I’m now a follower of this blog!

    Cheers!

  28. Debi says:

    Fantastic photography….and lobster always captures my attention. Yum!

  29. Alice says:

    This looks amazing!

  30. greg says:

    I’ve never been big on the champagne cream sauce, but this just might make a convert out of me. Yes, I am so stealing err..borrowing this.

  31. Ronnie Cromer says:

    Great recipe on the sauce. I had previously tried to hand make the lobster stuffed ravioli but it did not turn out as good as I had hoped. I purchased some store bought that was a very good quality. Never frozen and no preservatives.

    Used your sauce recipe and as I said it was great. The sauce was fairly sweet but my wife likes it sweeter so with leftovers, I experimented with a little sherry and it was also excellent.

  32. Benton says:

    Made this last night to welcome my wife home from a trip to Chicago – turned out great! Sauce was a big hit!

  33. Pearl Moskato says:

    Tried this recipe last night and it was a success! I also experimented and replaced the ricotta with mascarpone (Batali style). Thank you for the recipe and I also love the picture with the pasta underneath the machine. I’d like to know how your stripe of pasta is so even, I cannot do that, my pasta is more ”rustic” looking with uneven edges.

  34. Lilly says:

    Bravo!! I made your recipe and it was fabulous!!! Thanks for posting and passing along a jewel!
    You can see my process here: http://welcometolillyshome.blogspot.com/2011/01/lobster-ravioli.html

    Lilly