Ravioli and Lobster with Garlic Roe Cream

Lobster roe is under-appreciated in our philistine American culture.  Along with the greenish black tomalley, it’s what’s found inside the lobster meat – either under the carapace (tomalley) or running down the seam of the tail (roe).  It is not lobster shit, as many people erroneously think – instead, it is the liver and eggs of the seabug, and it’s all edible – and in some cases quite delicious.  For tonight’s simple pasta dinner, I decided to use the roe in the sauce to amp up the lobster flavor, and to add to the beauty of the dish, since I think all those little orange dots are super pretty.  And since lobster season is almost over, I need to get me as much of it as I can…

Star Market, of all places, had a good sale on lobsters the other day ($5.99/lb with free steaming), so I picked up a couple bugs and…

… harvested all the meat out of them using my kitchen shears.  Only one was female, so I only pulled out about a tablespoon of roe – which was just enough.

Ravioli and Lobster with Garlic Roe Cream

10-12 oz fresh steamed lobster meat (harvested from 2 lobsters)
1 package fresh cheese ravioli
1 tsp tomato paste
4 tbs butter
3 cloves garlic
1 cup half & half
1 tbs lobster roe
parmigiano reggiano cheese (as needed, but about 1/2 cup will do)
chopped scallions for garnish

I’ve made several recipes quite similar to this one – which illustrates quite clearly how I like to eat my lobster: in cream sauce.  (You can check those out here, and here, and here for starters.)  To make this garlic cream, I start by melting my butter.  (Meanwhile, I bring a pot of water to a boil so that it will be ready for my pasta.)

I’ve minced my garlic…

… which I add to my melted butter to gently saute for a few moments…

…. before straining out the solids (both garlic and butterfats), to make a garlic scented clarified butter.

To this I add my broken up roe…

… and my cream, which I whisk together over medium heat.

I add my tomato paste to give it a little acidic balance…

… and my cheese (about 1/2 cup), since – well, it’s cheese, and I never need an excuse to add cheese to anything!  I add my lobster meat to the sauce for a few moments to heat it back through.

And that’s it!  After whipping up a quick salad and cooking off my pasta for a few minutes (until they just float), I plate up this simple, elegant meal and dive into it face first.  The pink sauce is studded with flavor-intensifying roe, and is gently scented by garlic and cheese.  The raviolis soak up the cream, and the tender lobster meat is buttery and rich and sweet.  My salad compliments all this richness with tangy feta and briny olives, making a perfectly light seafood supper.

Shrimp, Crab, and Scallop Cannelloni

It’s been a stormy weekend: new fridge (the old one died unexpectedly); thunderstorms; moments of intense malaise.  But we now have freshly chilled, freshly purchased cold staples, and our fridge is clean as a whistle with no half empty jars of anything (all was thrown away; all was grody-to-the-max).  I’ve been in the mood for some shellfish lasagna, or cannelloni, or something like that.  There was this nice Italian place, on Newbury Street, on the haute couture block closest to the Boston Public Garden, a few years back, and they had this delightful tri-sauced seafood lasagna; I’ve been dreaming about it lately.  And I can’t find anything like it on any other menus in town (at least, those available online).  So I decided to make some myself.  Sweet shellfish and ricotta stuffing wrapped in pasta sheets and baked with bechamel, alfredo, pesto, and tomato sauces.

I only need a few tablespoons of pesto, so I start with about 1 cup of basil leaves, three or so cloves of garlic, and about 1/4 cup of pine nuts.

I blend all those beautiful flavors with some EVOO, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and lemon juice, until it’s a nice, thick paste.  Cover, and chill in the new fridge.

I want some toothsome texture in my dish to complement the sweet soft sinews of my shellfish, so I finely dice some carrot and celery (about 1 cup each), and toss them into a bowl.

To which I add: 1 cup chopped parsley, 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 egg, 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, some sea salt, cracked black pepper, and fresh grated nutmeg.

Blend all ingredients together well.

My scallops.  I slice each crosswise into three dics.

My shrimp.  These were called “sweet royal”, and they were royally sweet.

And, just for good measure, a can of crab meat.  I add each of these shellfish to my ricotta mixture, and blend well.

Meanwhile, whip up a quick Parmigiano-Reggiano bechamel: two tablespoons butter, a tablespoon flour, 1/2 cup cheese, 1 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper.

Melt the butter, and add the flour.

Blend well, until frothy.

Add your cheese and your cream, some salt, pepper, garlic, and nutmeg, and blend well until melted and thickened.

I’ve boiled off four sheets of no-boil lasagna noodles to soften them, and then I’ve filled them – lengthwise – with my shellfish filling, and wrapped them like burritos into some monkey-dishes already coated with my fresh bechamel: two per dish.

I’ve then spooned the remainder of my filling mixture over the top (most of my scallop slices ended up dotting the surface), and wrapped each dish in foil.  I set them inside a 350° oven for 30 minutes. In another small saucepan, I make a quick alfredo sauce (butter, cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, sea salt, pepper, and more nutmeg).  I also have some fresh tomato sauce nearby.  I remove the foil from my dishes, then one third of each in tomato sauce, the opposing third of each in 1/2 of my alfredo sauce, and then I add my few tablespoons of pesto to the remaining alfredo – return to the heat and stir for a moment to incorporate – before covering the middle third of each dish with its green goodness.  I return to the oven for an additional ten minutes, uncovered.

My Italian-flag colored shellfish cannelloni is served with a quick salad and some garlic toast, and is searingly hot, garlicky, and full-flavored.  Clayton chooses to eat white to red; I eat one cannelloni at a time, mixing all the sauces together, blending the cream with the green with the red.  The diced carrots and celery are crunchy bits of vegetable joy amid the curds and crab and cream and stuff.  A warm, light, rich dinner: perfect for capping off the weekend!

Baked Cannelloni on FoodistaBaked Cannelloni

Broiled Shrimp in Lemon Garlic Butter with Rotini Alfredo

An evil god named Bursitis has struck me down. Touched in the shoulder by his vengeful finger of doom, I’ve been in owie-land all week, and therefore sucking down the delivery like the lazy hag I am when I’m feeling low. But after 8 days of it’s-not-getting-better-yet, I sloughed my way to the doctor today to see if modern physik could do anything to ease my suffering. One shot in the butt of magic healing juice later, and I felt good enough to cook tonight, with only an intermittent staccato of “OW!” and “OH!” and “YOUCH!” punctuating the event, instead of the relentless base-line drumbeat of the wailing pain of last week. El husband picked up some lovely shrimp at Whole Foods yesterday, and with them, a lemon, some butter, and some pasta ‘n stuff, I put together a steakhouse-style shrimp broil with a side of Alfredo worthy of dipping and dunking and lip-licking extraordinaire.

What you’ll need, for two:

1lb 16-20 ct. shrimp
1 lemon
1 stick butter
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 cup heavy cream
6 cloves garlic
4 cups rotini pasta
handful of fresh chives
sea salt
cracked black pepper
white bread (this is the bestest sweetest heavy cream bread Bursitis’s arch-enemy, the good god Yummiliciousness, bakes)

In some large white monkey dishes…

… add a few tablespoons of butter and some smashed garlic cloves. Set into a preheated 350° oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel everything but the very tail ends off your shrimp.

Check your monkey dishes; the butter should be slightly browned and bubbling, and the garlic should be starting to turn ever-so-slightly-golden on the edges. Set aside to cool for a few minutes – about 10. The garlic will continue to cook slightly.

Set your pasta water to boil. You’ll need only about 10 minutes to broil off the shrimp, and about 15 minutes to finish off your pasta, so plan accordingly. When the water is boiling, layer your shrimp into your monkey dishes, coating each one with the melted butter, and studding the roasted garlic gloves over into some well-placed nooks and crannies.

Add your pasta to the water, and bring back to a boil. Add about 1 more tablespoon of butter to the center of each shrimp-filled monkey dish, and squeeze the juice of ½ a lemon over each one, too. Place the dishes back into your 350° oven, and bake for 10 minutes (just enough time for your pasta to cook to al dente.)

Remove your pasta to a colander…

… and put the empty warm pot back on the heat. Add two tablespoons butter, and melt thoroughly.

Add 1 cup heavy cream to the hot butter, and stir well to incorporate. Add your cup of grated cheese, and do the whole stirring and incorporating thing again. The sauce will be nice and thick.

Add your pasta to the pan, and stir well again, tossing it thoroughly with the sauce, and heating it all through nicely.

Sweet succulent sizzling garlic butter and lemon soaked shrimp, served alongside a rich and creamy rotini alfredo splattered with snipped fresh chives. Toast off some heavy cream white bread, perfect for butter sauce and roasted garlic sopping, and stuff forkfuls of firm crustacean flesh and perfectly al dente ribbons of perfect pasta into your waiting mouth which waters with desire for a dinner done just right.

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