During my trip to London in September, I was able to take a short day trip to Paris. While I was in Paris, I had the best meal of my trip at a restaurant called Auberge Nicolas Flamel. If you are visiting Paris in the near future, I highly recommend adding a meal at Auberge Nicolas Flamel to your plans. Auberge Nicolas Flamel is a unique restaurant built into Paris’s oldest standing home, the former home of alchemist Nicholas Flamel (to the Harry Potter fans, yes, he was a real person).
During my meal here, I had my favorite dish from this trip, lobster ravioli served in a cardamom-infused sweet potato emulsion. Once I returned home, I wanted to create a dish inspired by this meal that was adapted to both my skill set (i.e. novice pasta maker) and my budget. What I came up with essentially turned the original dish inside out. In my dish, fragrant sweet potato ravioli is served with a lobster cream sauce. The pasta dough recipe has been adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe found here.
To make the ravioli, begin by preheating your oven to 350° F. Peel and cube two to three large sweet potatoes. Place the cubes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle approximately two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and half a tablespoon of melted salted butter. Mix together half a teaspoon of ground ginger, a quarter teaspoon of ground white pepper, and a half teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the sweet potatoes. Zest and juice a lemon and season the sweet potatoes with both the zest and the juice. Finally, use your hands to toss the sweet potato cubes in the seasoning mixture, until all of the cubes are evenly coated. Roast the sweet potato cubes for forty-five minutes to an hour until soft.
Allow the sweet potato cubes to cool. Then, combine the sweet potatoes, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, three quarters of a cup of milk, a quarter teaspoon of ground cardamom, and half a tablespoon of melted butter in a food processor or high-powered blender. Transfer the filling to a sealable container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This filling can be made a day ahead and actually freezes well.
When you are ready to assemble the ravioli, make the pasta dough by mixing together two and three-quarter cups of all-purpose flour and a quarter cup of semolina flour together on a clean work surface. Shape the flour into a mound and use your fingers to create a small well in center of the mound. Add four large eggs to dough by cracking or pouring them into the well you created. Sprinkle two tablespoons of minced, fresh sage and a teaspoon of kosher salt over the eggs. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the eggs in the well. Use a fork to mix together the eggs, olive oil, sage, and salt.
Add four large eggs to dough by cracking or pouring them into the well you created. There are only three eggs in the picture, because once a started to work the flour into the eggs, the ratio of liquid to flour was off. Sprinkle two tablespoons of minced, fresh sage and a teaspoon of kosher salt over the eggs. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the eggs in the well. Use a fork to mix together the eggs, olive oil, sage, and salt.
Form the dough by using your hands to draw the flour into the well in the center. Once the mixture forms a dough, knead the dough for approximately ten minutes until smooth. Wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least thirty minutes.
Once the dough has rested, cut the dough into six pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest of the dough under the plastic wrap. Using a floured rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a rectangle just thin enough to feed it into the largest setting on your pasta roller. Feed the dough through pasta press once, using your other hand to guide the dough coming out off the press. I used a pasta press attachment for a KitchenAid® mixer to make this recipe. If you are working with a hand crank machine, the maneuver is essentially the same. You will just need to get a momentum going with each pass, before moving your free hand from feeding the dough into the press to guiding it out.
After the dough’s first pass through the machine, fold the dough in half (top to bottom) and run the dough through again at the same width. Adjust the machine to the next narrowest width and repeat the same process. Continue adjusting the machine to a narrow width, one notch at a time, and repeating this process, until the dough is semi-translucent.
Cut the long strip of pasta dough into two shorter strips. Use a spoon to scoop out a small dollop of filling and place each dollop approximately an inch apart on one of the strips of pasta dough. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Then, use a small brush or the back of a spoon to brush the egg wash in a square around each portion of filling. Take the other strip of dough and place it over the dough with the filling on it.
Use your finger to seal each ravioli around the filling. Then, use a knife or a rotary pastry cutter to cut out each ravioli. Sprinkle or brush the raviolis lightly with flour and place them to the side on a lightly floured plate or baking sheet.
Put on a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and prepare your ingredients for your sauce. While the water is coming to a boil, begin making the sauce by making a roux. Melt three tablespoons of salted butter in a large sauté pan on medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, incorporate four tablespoons of all-purpose flour into the butter with a flat whisk. At this point, add the raviolis to the water and cook for five to seven minutes, until the outer edges of the raviolis are done.
While the ravioli mixture is cooking, cook the butter and flour mixture until it is a caramel brown. Then, reduce the heat of the sauté pan to low and whisk in one and a half cups of whole milk, a half of a cup of heavy cream, one teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon™ lobster stock concentrate, one teaspoon kosher salt, a quarter teaspoon black pepper, a quarter teaspoon white pepper, an eighth of a teaspoon of hot smoked paprika, and one minced shallot.
Cook the mixture for three to four minutes whisk continuously until the sauce thickens. Then, add two minced garlic cloves and the zest of one lemon to the sauce and cook for an additional two minutes. Turn of the heat on the sauce, drain the pasta, and then add the raviolis into the sauté pan. Stir to coat the ravioli in the sauce. Plate and serve with a sprinkle of minced, fresh sage.