With all the excitement of seeing Beth again after three long months of Bethlessness, I wanted to make a great dinner-I really did-but it didn’t happen. I had too many ideas and ran out of time so we all sat down to a very ordinary supper of spicy shrimp and avocado to start and spaghetti as main. It was great to be together and catch up on all her comings and goings but I felt badly that I hadn’t treated her to something special. We made plans to meet again around the table the next night.
In the morning I made a stock with a bag full of shrimp heads and carcasses that I had in the freezer and added the ones from the night before. So easy!
Ok, so the stock was ready and I found some Japanese wonton wrappers tucked away in the freezer, so as you might imagine, I’m in an Asian frame of mind. I ran out to the market for coriander, chives and coconut milk but when I got there, there was something I hadn’t anticipated. There at the back of our beautiful Herblay market (pictures to come!) was a new and fantastic Italian stand. Oh my, all that fresh pasta, all the gorgeous antipasti. I couldn’t resist. Menu change on the spot! From Asian to Italian in six and a half seconds. I resisted the pasta because I had my wonton wrappers at home. I went for the antipasti: luscious big marinated artichokes, hot little peppers stuffed with tangy goat cheese, fresh ricotta, sun blush tomatoes (tomates confites). On my way back through the market I picked up some rucola, olives and more shrimp. Happy me. So the menu was now a big, showy antipasto platter followed by some kind of shrimp ravioli that I had to concoct. I was worried about the ginger in the stock but it worked fine and added depth to the flavor. Not genuine Italian but delicious all the same.
Here’s the recipe.
shrimp stock reduced to about one cup
1 large package Japanese wonton wrappers (about 36 wrappers) see note
300 grams peeled and deveined cooked shrimp
approx one quarter of a cup fresh ricotta cheese -may need more
one handful snipped fresh chives or to taste plus extra for garnish
one handful finely sliced basil or to taste
salt and pepper
Cover the shrimp bits with water in a pot. I had a lot so it was about three or four cups of water. Add a chopped shallot, a branch of celery cut in four, and a thumb sized piece of ginger roughly chopped. That day I also had a half of lemon that had already been squeezed a bit so I threw it in . Once it reaches the boil reduce the heat to medium high, taking off the foam as it forms-it stops after a while. Let it cook and reduce, cook and reduce then remove it from the heat and mash it all down to get the tasty juices . After straining the liquid do another round of mashing and straining, then set it aside.Chop the shrimp. It needs to be quite fine but I like it to have some texture which is why I don’t just throw everything in the blender. Mix with the ricotta and evaluate the situation. There should be a good bit of cheese but mostly shrimp. Add the herbs and season to taste.
To make the ravioli have a little bowl with some water in it. Take one of the wonton wrappers and put a good teaspoon full of filling on it towards the bottom the the wrapper. Wet your finger with the water and moisten the edge of the wrapper all the way around. Fold over and press the edges together. You can also go around and press the edges firmly with the end of a fork to give you an even better seal. Now for the sauce. Take the pan with the stock and reduce it down a bit more. Swirl a generous tablespoon of butter through it and add a tablespoon of cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add more cream if you like. Keep warm.
Get a great big pot of water boiling and add some rock salt. Gently slide the raviolis into the water and don’t go away. This doesn’t take long. The raviolis will bob up to the surface. Let them boil a bit longer-a couple of minutes at most. I can’t be more precise because the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the wonton wrappers. You can test the edge of the pasta if you can’t tell by looking. Pour the sauce into a pasta bowl. Drain the ravioli well-very well-being careful when you pour them into the strainer then add to the sauce. Serve on individual plates and garnish with a bit of sun blush tomato and black olive. Sprinkle with chives and dig in.
NOTE about wonton wrappers: I happened upon a little Japanese grocery store in Paris and bought several packages of their frozen wonton wrappers. I have always used the Chinese type and use two per ravioli. These were round and a little thicker. I love them. Now if I can just remember where that shop is!