Lobster and Mascarpone Holiday Ravioli with Truffle Butter
LOBSTER AND MASCARPONE FILLING:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 cup white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat, picked over and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 recipe standard or colored pasta dough, recipe follows
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- Burro di Tartufo ( Truffle Butter):
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (4-ounce) jar truffles, black or white, finely chopped
STANDARD PASTA DOUGH:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
Make lobster and mascarpone filling: Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add brandy. Turning pan away from you, carefully light with match to flambe. Add white wine and cook until reduced to syrup-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Add lobster meat, cooking until just warmed through. Remove from heat and place into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese with beaten eggs, chopped basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Add to lobster and shallot mixture and combine well. Taste to adjust seasoning. Cover and set aside. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to a day.
Create holiday-shaped pasta cutouts:
Using a pasta roller, roll out pasta into thin sheets. Cut out shapes for the tops and bottoms of the ravioli using cookie cutters (bells, snowmen, trees, gingerbread boys and girls, snowflakes, stars, wreaths, etc.). Place pasta shapes on a floured dishtowel and cover so that pasta does not dry out. Cut out smaller shapes to decorate ravioli tops. Using a small, sterilized paintbrush, dip into the egg white and attach smaller pasta decorations onto raviolis. Be sure to completely decorate the top ravioli cutouts before filling. Cover with floured dishtowel. You should have an equal amount of ravioli bottoms without decorations and ravioli tops with decorations.
Working with 1 ravioli at a time, place a spoonful of filling in the center of 1 ravioli bottom cutout. Using the paint brush, brush egg white all over the pasta edges around the filling. Place the matching ravioli top with decorations atop the filling (decorations face side up) and press to seal the edges, pinching together with a fork. Cover, until all of the ravioli shapes are made. If not using immediately, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a day. If freezing, separate ravioli on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap until frozen so that ravioli doesn't stick together. Once frozen, store in a freezer-proof sealable plastic bag or airtight container for up to a month.
Make Truffle Butter Sauce: Into the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a paddle attachment, cream until smooth. Add chopped truffles and mix until just blended, being careful not to "cream" the truffles into the butter. Place in bowl, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 5 hours or preferably overnight so that the truffles infuse the butter.
Remove butter and allow it to come to room temperature. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. Melt until warm do not let it come to a boil. Keep warm over low heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large shallow saucepan of salted water to boil. Carefully slide in raviolis. Cook until al dente. About 10 minutes if using ravioli immediately; 12 minutes if using refrigerated ravioli and 15 minutes for frozen. Remove raviolis with a slotted spoon and lay on paper towels to absorb excess water. Place ravioli on plates and drizzle with truffle butter.
Combine the flour and salt, to taste, and mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and olive oil, if using. Carefully, beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed. Gradually begin incorporating the flour into the egg mixture with the fork. When enough of the flour has been incorporated so that the dough can be worked by hand, begin kneading the dough, adding more flour to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky. Knead vigorously for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and satiny to the touch, and when cut in half, is completely smooth, with no air holes or gluten strands visible. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes in order to relax the gluten.
Colored Pasta Dough:
The amount suggested below for each puree is enough to color 1 recipe for standard pasta dough. Should you wish to prepare 2 or 3 different pasta colors, divide the quantities of dough and purees and color accordingly. If using small quantities, it is simpler to mix ingredients in a bowl, rather than on a flat surface. Mix the puree together with the eggs and proceed with the master recipe for the pasta. To compensate for extra moistness, you may need to incorporate extra flour into the dough when kneading it.
Green Puree (spinach):
Steam 1/2 pound of spinach with water clinging to its leaves, covered for 2 minutes, or Swiss chard for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water and squeeze the leaves as dry as possible. Puree the spinach in a food mill or processor.
Speckled Green Puree (herb):
Trim, wash, pat dry, and finely chop 6 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, sorrel, thyme, sage leaves, tarragon, lovage, marjoram, basil, dill, dandelion, arugula. However, the strong herbs---thyme, dill, sage, savory, marjoram, and tarragon---do not marry well with some others, so choose your herb mixture carefully.
Red Puree (beet):
Bake a small unpeeled beets in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Peel and puree in a food processor.
Yellow Puree (saffron):
Add a generous pinch of ground saffron to the eggs in the well right before beating.