Monday, January 9, 2012

Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Gruyere Sauce

I have a thing for all foods that include lobster.  Steamed, in mac & cheese, any way you give it to me, I'll eat it.  So when I saw fresh made lobster ravioli in the market this weekend, obviously how could I turn it down.  I mean...come on, pasta and lobster?  My heart just can't say no.

However, having never actually prepared any lobster ravioli before, I didn't know what to make it with.  Just butter?  Lemon butter sauce?  Oh the options!  I instead decided that, particularly due to the coldness outside, the best sauce would be a creamy one.

I've only recently been messing around with bechamel sauce, so I decided to make a variation on the classic white sauce.  It turned out pretty darn amazing.  In fact, Brett, who rarely says anything beyond "mm" or "this is good," proclaimed that he would even be happy if he ordered this in a restaurant.  So I guess this one is a winner!


Ingredients
3 T unsalted butter
3 T whole wheat flour, divided
2 C 2% milk
1 t nutmeg
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 t pepper
2 t salt
1/2 C grated gruyere cheese
1 lb lobster ravioli, or really any ravioli will do
1/4 t lemon zest

Making a bechamel or white sauce can seem daunting.  But it's not.  It just requires that you pay attention and whisk A LOT.  I mean, don't go crazy or anything, but make sure you're constantly whisking.  Okay, now that I've covered that, on to the recipe.

Heat the butter in a saucepan on medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, whisk the flour (you can use unbleached, whole wheat, or even buckwheat for those of you who are gluten free people) on T at a time.  Once the butter and flour are combined, add the milk in at about 1/2 cup at a time.  Whisk constantly to make sure there is no clumping and that the flour isn't settling at the bottom.

Keep whisking until the sauce begins to bubble (although don't boil it! that's too hot! cool it down!).  It should take about 6-8 minutes at least.  If it's thin, don't worry, keep heating, it'll get thicker.  Once the sauce has thickened, add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, pepper, salt and gruyere.  If you want to omit any of those spices, no worry, you've already made the base of the sauce.  Also I recommend tasting along the way to determine if it needs more seasoning.

Once the sauce has cooked to the way you want it to, turn the heat to low.  It can be kept warm while you prepare the ravioli.  For this specific ravioli (or any delicate fresh ravioli), bring water to a simmer and add the ravioli.  Cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the raviolis float to to the top.  Rather than risk breaking the ravioli, I extracted the ravioli with a slotted spoon to serve.

Pour the cheese sauce on the ravioli (but don't drench it) and sprinkle some of the lemon zest on the ravioli.  You can save the remaining sauce.  Either in the fridge for 2-3 days, or in the freezer as long as you want.

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