Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

A Last Resort for a First Course


Every so often I get a notion into my head to do something best left to those who do it better. Last week Mrs. E. and I were privileged to attend a birthday dinner that featured an extraordinary dinner menu. Fresh tomato sauce with lobster ravioli, followed by steak over mashed parsnips and a cheese course.

For days I couldn’t get the thought of those perfectly formed, delicious lobster ravioli made with fennel, out of my head. So I decided to make some for a dinner party we had coming up. I did make my own tarragon pasta and the lobster ravioli, but I made a roasted red pepper sauce instead.

The ravioli were large. One per person was plenty. Which was fortunate as I don’t have a ravioli tray and had to hand form each. This is neither easy nor elegant and it takes a bit of effort to pull off, but the result was toothsome nonetheless. I would call it a last resort as a first course. The pasta course was followed by a grilled Teriyaki flank steak, a green salad vinaigrette and a cheese course.

So, for those of you with a masochistic streak, that is for those of you without a ravioli form, I present:

The Easy and Elegant Lobster Ravioli in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

For the pasta combine:

2 cups of flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup of fresh herbs (tarragon, fennel, what have you.)

Mix and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the flour into a smooth ball, cover it with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, divide the dough into five pieces. Roll one out with a rolling pin, recover the other pieces. Pass the rolled out piece through your pasta machine on the most open setting. Make four passes, each time folding the dough into thirds before running it back through. Work your way through the settings until you have reached the third from the end. Sprinkle some fresh herbs onto the dough, fold it into thirds and pass through the machine for the last time. This will make about one to two raviolis.

Repeat with the other pieces.

For the filling:
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan

Add and sauté until it thickens (10 -15 minutes?):

1 large peeled, seeded and chopped tomato
5 medium roasted red peppers, chopped (you amy roast your own in a 350ºF oven until blackened or over flame. Pop them into a plastic ziplock bag and let them sit for 1/2 and hour. Peel) I used tinned ones from Spain, sent by friends just in time!
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs (I used tarragon)
Salt and pepper

Pour in 1/4 cup or so of heavy cream and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Chop 3/4 pound of cooked lobster meat. (Mine was mixed claw and tail.)
Add about 2 Tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and
1/3 of the purée. Combine.

Lay out a sheet of pasta. Put a dollop of the filling every five inches or so, leaving a border of dough on the sides. Lay another sheet on top and crimp the edges closed with a pasta crimper. I didn’t have one, so I wet the edges and sealed as best I could with the times of a fork and folded over any excess dough. Cut them apart and seal completely. I get about two ravioli out of every two sheets of pasta dough. You won’t use all the filling, reserve some to garnish the dish.

Boil a big pot of salted water. Drop the ravioli into the boiling water. They will sink. When they rise to the surface, they’re cooked. Drain, plate, spoon some of the reserved filling over the top, sprinkle with more fresh herbs and some cracked pepper.

Drink a sparkling Brut.

This served four people as a first course with 3 ravioli left over. I will chop and toss the leftovers with a vinaigrette to make a cold lobster and pasta salad for luncheon today.

7 thoughts on “A Last Resort for a First Course

  1. This sounds like a lot of work, but a delicous pay off at the end! My wife and I will have to try this some weekend.

  2. Wow! Your courage in the face of all odds and determination to steer us through troubled waters never fail to amaze me!

  3. Hello Nick, it is a lot of work really just time consuming. Open a bottle of wine whilst preparing dinner….

    Thank you DD, somebody has to try these things out. I’ll simplify what I can and where possible.

    Off to shop for tonight’s dinner .. guests today, and Thursday and a porch party Friday.

  4. More sparkling wine after the cheese. Unless you meant at the dinner which inspired it, Mrs. PvE. . In that case, it was a bill for the cab ride. WIth age wisdom.

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