Open lobster and crab ravioli with bottarga sauce

Aldo Zilli showcases luxury British shellfish with delicate home-made pasta and a rich sauce of cream, fennel and chives
By Aldo Zilli
Open lobster and crab ravioli with bottarga sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 1 large cooked crab
  • 1 cooked lobster, tail, head and claws separated (ask your fishmonger to do this)

For the shellfish stock

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • couple knob butter
  • 25 ml brandy
  • tomatoes, paste
  • 1 x 400 g tin Pelati canned chopped tomatoes

For the pasta

  • 400 g tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
  • sprinkle semolina
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, finely diced
  • 150 g clams
  • 2 tbsp finely diced flesh of tomatoes, skin and seeds removed
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • bottarga, for sprinkling
  • 1 small handful finely chopped chives

Tips and Suggestions

Aldo recommends Devon crab for this dish.

Bottarga is a speciality of the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily. It is made from the roe sacs of tuna or grey mullet, which are salted, pressed and dried for around 6 months. Bottarga di muggine (grey mullet) has the more delicate flavour. It is preferable to buy bottarga by the piece and grate or shave it yourself, rather than use jars of ready-grated bottarga.

Method

1. To prepare the crab, twist off the claws and legs. Hold the body so that the head points upwards and knock the bottom edge on a chopping board. Use your thumbs to push the centre up and out of the shell. Remove and discard the stomach sac and the gills (dead man's fingers) which run down the sides. Cut the rest of the body piece into 4 pieces and use a skewer to remove the white flesh and a teaspoon to remove the brown meat. Crack open the claws and legs and remove the white meat from them. Reserve the shells for making the stock and set aside 150g of white crabmeat to use in the sauce.

2. Remove the meat from the lobster tail and cut into 1cm rings.

3. For the shellfish stock: heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and a few knobs butter, plus the lobster head and claws, and the crab shell, and sauté for 5 minutes.

4. Add the brandy, tomato paste, tomatoes, a pinch of salt and 1 litre of water and bring to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes then remove the lobster claws and continue cooking the remainder of the stock for a total of 2 hours. When the lobster claws are cool enough, remove the meat from the shells.

5. Pass the stock through a fine sieve and set aside.

6. For the pasta: pile the flour and semolina on a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, oil and a pinch of salt. Gently whisk the well ingredients with a fork, then using your fingers in a circular motion, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. Add a little water if required to form a dough.

7. Knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and springs back when gently pressed. Dust the work surface with some extra flour, if necessary, to prevent sticking.

8. Cut the dough into manageable pieces and roll them into very thin pasta sheets, either using a rolling pin or a pasta machine (in which case follow the manufacturer's instructions). Cut the sheets into 10cm squares.

9. For the sauce: melt the butter and oil together over a medium heat. Add the shallots, fennel and clams cook for 2 minutes, then add the lobster tail meat, reserved crab meat and the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more. Add 5 tablespoons of the shellfish stock and cook for 5 minutes or until the lobster is done (add more shellfish stock if necessary).

10. Pour in the cream and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the lobster claw meat and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and cook for 1 minute more.

11. Meanwhile, cook the pasta sheets in a large pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain. Finish the sauce with some grated bottarga and most of the chives. Layer the pasta sheets with the shellfish sauce (allow the pasta to poke through) and finish with the remaining chives and a final grating of bottarga.

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