Not that we’re religious, but we thought to have a meat-free dinner on Easter Friday (forget the bacon we had for breakfast!)…so I picked up some local prawns at the fishmonger, made some pasta ravioli, filled with prawn, and served with a simple tomato sauce. Once you get the feel for the proper consistency of pasta dough, it’s pretty easy (granted having a pasta machine to roll the dough makes it heaps easier, as well as ravioli shape cutters that Belinda bought me!).
4 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
1 Tb olive oil and 2 Tb butter
500 g (just under 1 lb) raw prawn meat
2 garlic cloves
2 small eshallots
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 medium can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 Tb oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Start with the pasta. I find making pasta is not an exact science, much like bread, because each flour has a different moisture content and eggs are different sizes. I tend to use large eggs, and go by a 1 cup flour + 1 egg ratio for each serve, so for a family of 4 I use 4 cups flour and 4 eggs (and a pinch of salt). On a nice open surface, I pour all the flour into a large mound, and then make a deep well in the middle. Lightly whisk the eggs witha pinch of salt, and then pour the eggs into the flour mound. Using a fork or whisk, slowly whisk the eggs in the flour mound, incorporating the flour. It will slowly thicken until you will need to use your hands. Knead the dough similar to bread, including pressing flat, folding over, and rolling. The dough should be relatively soft, look and feel damp, but not be sticky. If a bit dry, add a bit of water. If sticky, add a bit of flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest for at least 30 minutes.
For the prawn filling, clean the prawns and set aside. In a pan, heat the oil and butter on medium heat. Saute the eshallots for a few minutes until tender, then add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the prawns and saute for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place the cooked prawn mix and the rest of the filling ingredients into a pastry blender and pulse until mixed but not a smooth paste. Set aside.
Now back to the pasta. Divide the pasta into 1/4 pieces, leaving the unused portions wrapped in plastic. Flatten the pasta a bit using the palm of your hand, and then roll through the pasta machine on the 0 setting. What you’ll get is a slightly rectangular-shaped, thick pasta sheet. Fold the pasta like you would a letter for an envelope, in thirds, and roll through the pasta machine again on the 0 setting. Repeat this process a total of 6 times. Now decrease the pasta thickness to the 1 setting and repeat the folding-rolling process another 3 times. Now you can stop the folding process, and just roll the dough through the pasta machine, decreasing the thickness setting after each roll. For the pasta here, I stopped at the 6 thickness setting (9 is the thinnest on my machine). The result is a long sheet of pasta, about 4-5″ wide and 3′ long (10-12 cm wide by 90 cm long). Set this pasta sheet aside, and repeat with another dough piece so you have 2 similar sized pasta sheets. Laying one pasta sheet flat on the bench, place large spoonfuls (1-2 Tb) of prawn mix in equally spaced rows on the pasta sheet. Now lay the second pasta sheet down over the first, and gently press down around each prawn mound. If you have a ravioli cutter, use that to cut out each ravioli. If not, find an appropriate sized cup or bowl. Place the ravioli on a cooling rack or lightly floured surface until ready to boil.
For the sauce, heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan. Saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add in the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Cook tomatoes about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the ravioli in boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain and mix with the tomato sauce, cooking for a another 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!