Shrimp Ravioli

If shrimp with heads are unavailable, substitute fish stock or white wine for the shrimp stock in this recipe. The dish is even better with crawfish, if you can find them, or lobster, if you can afford it.

  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour 
  • 1 cup white flour 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 lb. shrimp (with heads) 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 10 black peppercorns 
  • parsley stems 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 4 tbsp. butter 
  • 1/2 lb. ricotta 
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1 bunch oregano, chopped 
  • Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste 
  • 4 tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup vodka 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 

Mix the flours and 4 of the eggs in a bowl, adding just enough water to form a ball. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, adding just enough additional flour to prevent sticking. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature.

Peel the shrimp and remove the heads. Put the heads and shells in a pot with the garlic, onion, peppercorns, parsley stems, and bay leaf. Cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the stock has reduced to 2 cups.

Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds; peel, seed, and chop. Add salt and allow to drain.

Chop half the shrimp tails and sauté in half the butter with salt, pepper, and cayenne. When cool, mix with the ricotta, the parmesan, and half the oregano and puree in a food processor. Taste and correct seasoning.

Set the smooth rollers of a pasta machine on the widest setting. Flatten the dough, dust with flour, and feed though the machine. Fold in thirds and roll and again. Repeat several times, until the dough comes out smooth. Turn the dial to the next setting amd roll again without folding. Repeat until the dough has been rolled with the second narrowest setting, dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. At some point during this process, cut the strip of dough into four equal parts to make it more manageable.

Lay one of the four strips onto a nonsticking surface. Arrange heaping teaspoons of the shrimp filling in two rows along the strip, 1 inch from the edges and 2 inches apart. Beat the remaining egg with a little water and brush around each mound of filling. Lay a second strip of dough on top and seal the dough around each mound, pressing out as much air as possible. Cut into squares with a fluted pastry wheel, discarding excess dough, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a floured dish cloth. Repeat with the remaining two strips. The ravioli may be stored in layers, as long as they are separated with floured cloths. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the sauce, chop half the remaining shrimp and sauté in the remaining butter in a small saucepan with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add half the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add vodka, ignite, and reduce by half. Puree the mixture in a food processor and return to the pan. Add the cream and reduce until thick. Taste and correct seasoning, using enough cayenne to make a spicy sauce.

Cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, and transfer to dinner plates. Spoon the sauce over the ravioli and cover with chopped tomates and oregano.