One of the great traditions of spring, of school, of educators everywhere is this long-held belief that we lucky students and teachers deserve a spring break. After spending the last winter months writing papers and testing our students, Spring Break represents that glorious moment in which we can go to bed without homework for one last glorious hurrah! before exams. With the increasing date of my doctoral exams next week, Spring Break simply could not have come at a better time.I’ve spent my vacation laying by the pool (multiple times) with my friends Jessica and Madoka. Margarita in hand, a stack of papers sitting (somewhat) neglected-ly at my side, I’ve been more concerned with soaking up Baton Rouge sun in an attempt to work on my pitiful tan than participate in the insane levels of work I seem to produce. Although terribly close to my own home, I cannot help but feel as if I’m on vacation.
Pictured: Insanely good Spring Break Margaritas by Jessica’s husband Victor.
Each spell of summer sun has been absolutely glorious and made even more so with the increased opportunities in cooking I’ve had of late. As I’m always looking for an opportunity to re-test recipes for The Fresh Table (due out Spring 2013!), it seemed like a great time to comfort my body with a homemade plate of pasta. Many thanks to my friend Jon Barry who brought over some of the most flavorful Crawfish Etouffé I have ever had and to my friend Madoka for re-testing this recipe with me. Unlike regular Crawfish Etouffé, these Crawfish Etouffé Raviolis are a new take on a classic Louisiana favorite. Baked inside comforting homemade pasta, Crawfish Etouffé infuses Cajun-Creole spices into an otherwise Italian dish.
Pictured: A new take on an old favorite. Crawfish Etouffé Raviolis infuses Cajun-Creole spices into an otherwise Italian dish.
To see previous Clearly Delicious takes on my favorite Louisiana dish, checkout my Shrimp Etouffé from two years ago, or just dig into your own homemade Etouffé-filled pasta, Spring Break or not.
Crawfish Etouffé Ravioli with Spicy Cream Sauce
This recipe is designed to save time without sacrificing the gourmet-nature of the dish. Use leftover Crawfish Etouffé and pre-cooked lasagna sheets for speed and flavor, but for a fabulous homemade basic Ravioli dough, see the detailed rolling, filling, and shaping suggestions below.
—For the Pasta—
*3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*1 teaspoon salt
*5 large eggs
*3 tablespoons water (as necessary)
—Crawfish Etouffé Filling—
*1 onion, chopped fine
*1 celery stick, chopped fine
*1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
*2 green onion, chopped fine
*1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
*1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
*1-2 tablespoons ground chili powder, to taste*
*1 stick salted butter, room temperature
*1 pound crawfish tails
*1 1/2 cups water
*2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
*3-4 bay leaves
*salt and pepper, to taste
*cayenne, to taste
*1 tablespoon flour
—Spicy Cream Sauce—
*1 pint heavy cream
*1 stick salted butter, softened
*1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated, more for sprinkling plates
*1 (14.5-ounce) can roasted red tomatoes, drained
*3-4 tablespoons crawfish etouffé mixture
*1 teaspoon chili powder
*Salt and pepper, to taste
1.) In a standing mixer, attach the dough hook and combine flour, olive oil, salt, and eggs for three minutes until a dough ball forms. If dough appears to be too dry, add up to 3 tablespoons water to help bring all ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for thirty minutes at room temperature.
2.) Prepare filling for ravioli as you would a traditional etouffé: chop ingredients—onion, celery, green onions, parsley, and peppers. Set aside. Pulse dried chili into a powder following the directions in the introduction of this book. Skip this step if using store-bought chili powder or cayenne.
3.) In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat and sauté chopped vegetables for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add crawfish tails, 1/2 cup water, minced or pressed garlic, and spices—homemade chili powder, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.
4.) Slowly add in one tablespoon flour and one cup water in divided increments: first, sprinkle mixture with half a tablespoon of flour, mix, half a cup of water, mix, and the remaining half of the flour and water. Allow mixture to cook uncovered for about 3-5 minutes or until the etouffé has thickened. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Remove etouffé from heat and serve.
5.) Prepare ravioli shells: using either a good quality rolling pin, some gumption, and a well-floured surface, roll out dough as thinly as you possibly can. However, if you have a pasta machine (one of the newest gadgets in my kitchen!) proceed with the following steps by using the flattening gears on increasingly thinner levels of rolling. Whichever technique you use, it is essential that you perform a single pass through with the pasta processing; otherwise, the dough will be tough and so will the ravioli. So, roll out the dough as thinly as possible and place tablespoon size dollops of filling evenly throughout. I use my ravioli press as a stencil by making indentations into the dough and then, filling them with the etouffé. This way, I have a marker for how many pieces I will be making and never run out of dough.
6.) Carefully place a new layer of pasta on top of the bottom layer and press down the edges making a note of where each filling dollop is placed. Using a single ravioli press, punch out the individual squares (or circles) for each piece. Transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper and repeat until all of the dough has been used.
7.) In a large pot of boiling salted water, add raviolis and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender to the touch. Strain raviolis and reserve for spicy cream sauce.
8.) Prepare Spicy Cream Sauce: in a non-stick pan, heat heavy cream over low-medium heat adding 1 tablespoon butter at a time whisking to combine mixture as the butter melts. Stir in parmesan cheese, roasted red tomatoes, crawfish etouffé mixture, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook sauce at low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until flavors are blended. Serve over Crawfish Etouffé Ravioli and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 4-6 servings.
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Written by: Helana Brigman