Home / Essays / 2015 / June / S01E08 The one with the shrimp ravioli

S01E08 The one with the shrimp ravioli

(Steve and Monica leave on the tour and Rachel goes to follow them but Phoebe stops her and drags her into the kitchen.)
Rachel: What's up? Phoebe: (whispers) In the cab, on the way over, Steve blazed up a doobie. Rachel: What?
Phoebe: Smoked a joint? You know, lit a bone? Weed? Hemp? Ganja?
Rachel: OK, OK. I'm with you, Cheech. OK. Do you think it’s going to be cool or…?
Steve: (from the living room) Is it dry in here? (licks his lips)
Rachel: Let me, let me get you some wine!
Monica: Yeah, I think we're ready for our first course. (Steve sits, Monica brings over a tray)
OK, um, these are rock-shrimp ravioli, in a cilantro ponzu sauce... (Steve starts to eat them one by one, quickly)... with just a touch of minced (he finishes)... ginger. 
Steve: Well, smack my ass and call me Judy! These are fantastic! 
Monica: I'm so glad you liked them! 
Steve: Like 'em? I could eat a hundred of them! 
Monica: Oh, well... um, that's all there are of these. But in about eight and a half minutes, we'll be serving some delicious onion tartlets.

This recipe called for rock shrimp, apparently a type of shrimp that tastes lobster-like. I could not find it in my area, so I decided to go loco and replace it with Dublin Bay Prawns. And by loco, I mean local. But, you know, either way. It was almost 12 noon when I arrived in Howth, the place where the fresh fish is. 

Lovely view, sunny day, all seemed well in the world. Little did I know! This day began wonderfully and ended with me in a metaphorical puddle of shit. After buying them crazy prawns, I headed for the store to buy some stuff for the ponzu sauce that I couldn't find at the close-to-home-stores. Here begins a journey that took way longer than expected and that tired the hell out of me. I get home at around 16:00 or something equally ridiculous. I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm peeing my pants! It's late, it's getting cloudy, even though it has been a perfectly sunny day so far. Frustration begins to show its ugly head. I decide to take care of my needs. You know, empty the smallest bladder in the world, drink some water, eat a sandwich. Gather some energy and get this mission on the road! 

I barely get to take a first bite out of that sandwich, when I receive the lovely news that instead of a package from back home, we'll be getting a mother from back home. My boyfriend's mother. At 1 a clock at night. I absolutely adore impromptu, unannounced visits in the middle of the night! Understandably, I was bursting with excitement and anticipation of what the busy, overwhelming week before we leave for Italy will be. I got so absolutely exhausted by the mere thought of this great surprise, I had to lie down for half an hour. You know, so that I could bask in the utter joy! Take it all in baby! The silence, the peace, the freedom. It's all so precious when you're about to lose it. Breathe in, breathe out. Gooosfraaabaaa!

And if not,

L040951

I slowly begin to measure ingredients and try to get my head in the game.

Things and stuff:

Rolling pin, pastry cutter/ pizza cutter/ your teeth (!), a couple of bowls, lil' ol' spoon, a pan, pot, nothing fancy.

It was this big:

450 gr. pasta dough/14 ravioli (fat ones), a big ass bowl of shrimp filling (I still had about 3 tablespoons left), and way too much sauce for this amount of ravioli (half the quantities if you don't want leftover sauce).

It took this long:

Forever. Peeling – half of my life, preparing the shrimp filling – 10 min, making the pasta dough – 20 min (first stage), 30 min in the fridge and then... 40 min. to convince it to be thin (damn society) and shape it, 5 min for the sauce, 7-10 min to boil the ravioli. About 1h and 30-40 min . Depends on how fast you peel them fuckers. Or maybe buy them all done and ready. I did not have that option.

Ingredients and quantities

The Process 

THE PRAWN FILLING

Pre-step: First play with your prawns. Arrange them as if they are racing each other. All the while listen to Townes Van Zandt - Shrimp Song. Trust me. It's just silly enough to work.

Step 1: Release the prawns from their bitchy armour. Peel them. This proved especially long. And hard. Get your mind out of the gutter. At the end of this process my hands were red and my heart was thirsty for revenge. Pain has been inflicted on me and I wanted to inflict it right back. Don't do it, the prawn is stronger then you. Or least more equipped. I looked up the official method to tame these armed bastards. I even made a video for you to witness my suffering.

What is supposed to happen: The shell has 6 individual segments. The objective is to hold 3 segments between each thumb and index finger and then we take the tail and twist it and break the join at each side of the shell. Then turn the langoustine belly up and with the thumb of your right hand push the meat forward, grip the shell, pull the tail out of the shell, trying to leave the vein connected to said shell (must de-vein them because eew). Then we need to remove what's left. It's supposed to just come off easily. Did not work for me.

Notice how methodical and clean the first part of the process is. Notice how I completely lose it by the end and go ham on it. Ouch, you cute pink motherfucker. Ouch.

Step 2: Finely chop them.

Step 3: Mix in a bowl with the ginger, green garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and basil.

Step 4: Shallow fry them. Pan, a bit of olive oil, hot flame, 2 min. Just so that they are not raw, but not completely cooked either. That's done! Set it aside.

PASTA DOUGH

Learn from my mistakes, I certainly try to.

 A. 00 flour is the best for the job. I didn't have it in the house, tried it with normal flour and ended up with a hard disk of non-cooperative lump. Had to go hunting for the last 00 flour at the Italian place and re-do it. That's how bad it was.

B. Patience and endurance. It takes time and muscle to get those sheets thin without a pasta machine. So be ready to pay with sweat and tears. I did.

Step 1: Sift the flour onto a work surface, forming it into a volcano-shaped-mound with a well in the centre. Like so: 

Step 2: Break the eggs into the centre. Add salt.


Step 3: Poke the yolk to release them. Incorporate the eggs into the flour with yo' lovin' hands, gradually drawing the flour into the egg mixture. 

If the mixture is too soft or sticky, add a bit more flour. Before kneading the dough clean you work surface and your hands.

Step 4: Lightly flour the surface and start to knead with the heel of one hand. Work it for 10-15 min until smooth (Jamie Foxx smooth) and elastic (Mr. Fantastic?)

Step 5: Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 min. 

Step 6: Start rolling, babe! Lightly flour you working area (yes, again!) and gently roll out the dough. Roll it till about 3 mm thick (or at least aim for that). 

Step 6: Cut the edges to make them nice and even. 

Step 7: Put heaped teaspoons of the filling near one of the edges. Not too near the edge, just not really in the middle.

Step 8: Now fold it over. Press gently with your fingers all around the filling to seal the ravioli shapes without air bubbles.

Step 9: Cut the pasta into squares. Or aim for that. Cover them with a tea towel while you do the rest, to avoid them getting dry and unmanageable. Like some people. 

Step 10 : Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. If they are the right thickness it shoud take 5 min. Mine were thicker, so it took about 7-8 min.

THE SAUCE

Step 1: Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. The end. 

Will the original Ponzu sauce please stand up? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzu. 

Ladies and gentleman, I presesnt to you Shrimp Ravioli with ponzu sauce and a touch of ginger:

Feedback: Making pasta is not as easy as advertised. At least not for a first-timer. I must keep at it, try different recipes and get a sense of what the proper consistency is. So to sum it up, not easy, not fast. Delicious. But not sure it was worth all the blood and tears. The pasta was not thin enough, and I could feel that around the edges of the ravioli. That annoyed me. A constant reminder of the “not-quite-there” thing I have going on. Should celebrate the fact that I made to the end of this recipe. You must know it took two days. Because night ambushed me. Because I had my very first blog-down, which is a melt-down but blog related. Well, and life related. Blog is life! Oh my God, I did it, I exaggerated all the way to the moon and back. Just did it again! Seriously hard to stop.  

This recipe was made in the midst of pressure, frustration, and oh, so many other feelings. I yelled, I cried, I hit things, they fell, hit me again. But hey, I did manage to get through it.

P.S. Don't slap your dough. She's innocent. Also, it hurts. Ouch inside and out. 

RavYOLO!

Let's try and keep it together, people! Until the next one, happy eating!