Those lucky enough to have travelled to Italy’s sun-kissed coastline will be familiar with the small restaurants that appear on the horizon. As one draws closer, one cannot help but marvel at how beautiful their pale blue facades look against the sun: a sort of seaside fairy tale. However, it’s the waft of fresh seafood cooking in the kitchens of these little establishments, often run by local families for generations, that is most captivating. Granchio - “crab” in Italian - is a staple in Italy’s coastal eating spots, where freshly-caught seafood is delivered by local fishermen in the morning, allowing the resident chef to prepare the catch at its freshest.
In this dish, we’ve looked to this wonderfully idyllic scene of the Italian Coast for inspiration, serving this week’s ravioli with succulent crab meat and fresh red chilli. As a fittingly summer-evoking accompaniment, we’ve created an Amalfi lemon butter to serve, which accentuates the delicate flavour of the crab, whilst the subtle chilli hit is reminiscent of the warmth of the coastal region’s sun on the nape of your neck. We also highly recommend hunting down some samphire, a vibrant green and naturally salty vegetable, reminiscent of the flowing seaweed among the undulating Italian waves, to give a little bite in contrast to the soft parcels of ravioli.
How to make Chilli and Crab Ravioli with Lemon Butter & Samphire
Preparation time: 1.5-2 hours
Calories per serving: 705kcal
For the filling:
200 g of mascarpone
250 g cooked crab meat
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
A handful parsley, finely chopped
For the pasta:
400g 00 flour
For the butter sauce:
100 g of good quality unsalted butter
The juice of 1 lemon
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
A pinch of salt
Step 1: Make the pasta dough
- First make the pasta dough for the ravioli using our simple guide. Or following Chef Roberta in the below video.
Step 2: Prepare the filling
- While you are resting your pasta, Roberta suggests about 30 minutes in the fridge wrapped in tight cling film, it’s time to create your filling.
- Put the mascarpone in a bowl and mix it with a fork to break up slightly.
- Chop the crab meat and add it to the mascarpone alongside the chopped parsley, lemon zest and chilli flakes. Season with salt and mix well.
- Cover and set aside
Step 3: Roll out your dough
Using a pasta machine:
- Dust your work surface with a sprinkling of plain white flour. Cut your dough into 4 equal parts and loosely form one section it into a ball. (Ensure to cover the rest of the dough with cling film)
- Set the pasta machine to the widest setting and roll the ball of pasta dough through it. Click the machine down a setting and continue to roll the pasta through until it is translucent (around setting 5 or 6).
Using a rolling pin:
- Rolling by hand follows much the same process as the machine, albeit with a little more elbow grease, or olio di gomito, as the Italians would say. Cut your dough into 4 equal parts and loosely form one section it into a ball. (Remember to cover the rest!)
- Lightly flour your rolling pin and begin rolling the dough as you would with a pastry crust, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge.
- Turn the dough slightly and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is about the thickness of a 2p coin.
Step 4: Fill and seal your Ravioli
Follow Chef Roberta’s step-by-step guide below to discover the ultimate tips on filling your ravioli. Alternatively, you can refer back to our ravioli guide.
Step 4: Allow ravioli to rest
- Once your ravioli are filled, sealed and cut, place the on a floured cloth or wooden board and allow to dry for around 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 5: Prepare your sauce
- In a large pan, add the butter, lemon juice and salt on a low heat until completely melted. Once melted add the chopped parsley, stir, turn off the heat and set aside.
- Thoroughly rinse your samphire.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. *Chef’s tip: add the salt after the water is already bubbling, otherwise it will take longer to come to boil.
- Blanch the samphire in the water for 1-2 minutes – no longer.
- Remove the samphire and add into your butter mix.
- Do not get rid of this pot of salty water.
Step 6: Cook your ravioli
- Using the same water used to blanch the samphire, bring to boil once more, adding an extra pinch of salt for luck.
- Once bubbling, add in your ravioli and cook for around 4 minutes.
- Set the pan with the sauce back on a very low heat to warm through.
- Once the ravioli begin to float to the surface of the water, lift out of the water with a slotted spoon and into the pan with the sauce.
- Add a 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water as needed and allow to simmer for a minute or so.
- Make sure the ravioli are even coated with sauce and serve immediately. Buon Appetito!
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