When I came home from the Herdsman with my basket of goodies, I set to work cooking, newly inspired by what I had seen and sensed in the shop. My first recipe was a home made prawn ravioli on a butternut squash puree, with crab meat and prawn flavoured oil. This is based on a Gary Mehigan recipe but has my own personal twist.
PRAWN RAVIOLI ON BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE WITH CRAB MEAT AND PRAWN OIL
The amount that I made was enough to feed 3 people comfortably or 2 greedy people ! I bought a ready cooked swimmer crab from the Herdsman and used a crab pick to remove the meat, but you can cook a raw crab if you prefer. Once the crabmeat is prepared, you need to get the ravioli filling ready, and the oil infused with flavour.
For the oil you need :
6 large tiger prawns (approx 200g)
200ml of good olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
1 teaspoon of tomato paste/puree
1 small fennel bulb
I had 6 huge prawns, which I de-shelled and removed the black food canal from (you do this by gently running a knife along the back of each prawn and easing the black tube out with the knife tip). I then sliced a fennel bulb thinly (you need about 30g but the exact quantity doesn’t matter too much). I placed the prawn shells in a pan with approx 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sliced fennel, 2 bay leaves, and a star anise. When the fennel is soft, add more oil (up to 200ml) and a teaspoon of tomato paste/puree. Put the lid on and continue to heat gently for 20-30 minutes to infuse the flavours into the oil. Keep the prawn meat for the ravioli filling. When the oil is done, pass it through a sieve to remove the shells and spices, discard the shells.
For the filling you need:
Prawn meat as above (approx 200g)
1 egg white
a pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
the zest of half a lemon
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of salt
Whizz up all of the ingredients in a food processor, adding the cream last as you may not need all of it. Try 50mls of cream first and check the texture – it should be soft but not runny. We want the filling to hold together inside the ravioli.
To make the ravioli, you can either make fresh pasta or buy lasagne sheets. I bought lasagne sheets both for convenience and because I wanted to test the quality of the Herdsman’s produce. You can make your own pasta dough by mixing 200g of ’00’ flour with 2 beaten eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor. This dough should be left to rest for a while at room temperature before passing it through a pasta machine.
To make the ravioli, cut a rectangular piece of dough approx 6cm x 12cm. Place a small spoonful of filling in the centre. Brush some milk around the edges and fold it over, making sure that you push out all of the air while you are sealing up the pasta. If the edges look uneven you can trim them with a knife or a wavy pasta cutter. The ravioli take approx 5 minutes to cook in boiling salted water.
For the butternut squash puree you need:
300g of grated butternut squash
60g butter or dairy free spread
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the butternut squash. When it starts to soften, add the milk, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then use a stick blender to puree it. You can also sieve the mixture if you want it to be really smooth. This can be made in advance and reheated while the pasta is cooking.
To assemble the dish, place some butternut squash puree on the plate, the ravioli on top, and some fresh crab meat on top of the ravioli. Drizzle some of the flavoured oil around the dish.
I served this with one of the Herdsman’s pre-prepared garden salads and the olive and onion bread.