Monday, March 14, 2011

An Underground Dining-Inspired Meal

The other weekend, Mr. WC and I were in the mood to make a 'project' dinner for ourselves on Sunday.  We had found a local underground dining website, Dining Under the Table, thanks to a posting on Thayer Avenue, and we were inspired by a posting about some Maine shrimp ravioli they made for one of their meals.  So, using that for our inspiration, we set about making our homemade shrimp and lobster ravioli.  This isn't exactly Wheaton-related (it's closer to a Crash in the Kitchen post), but we did get alot of our ingredients from local stores, so I think this counts!

The first step was to make our own seafood stock.  To get really good stock from shellfish, you need the heads, which have alot of tasty fat in them.  While shrimp with heads on may be hard to find at some grocery stores, H-Mart always has them.  So, we picked up some raw shrimp from H-Mart plus a lobster for good measure.

Raw Shrimp w/ Heads

Lobster post-steaming

We shelled the raw shrimp, keeping the heads and shells, and cooked the lobster (I had to leave the room for that part).  We then removed the meat and retained the shells and heads.  We threw all of the heads and shells, plus some veggies and water, in a pot that we simmered for most of the day.

Our house smelled like seafood for days after making the stock!

Separately, we mixed the cooked shrimp and lobster meat with some shallots, basil, grated parmesean, and ricotta cheese.  Then, we put the mixture into a food processor, which produced a nice paste for our ravioli filling.

While the stock was going, we made the ravioli dough, which has to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before rolling it out.  Our dough recipe comes from the cookbook 'Urban Italian' by Andrew Carmellini (I highly recommend the book, and it's on sale at Amazon for $14!).  It calls for type '00' flour, and the only place around here that sells it is Marchone's, so I stopped there to buy a few bags.  Eventually, we rolled out the dough, and using a ravioli mold, started to fill our ravioli with the shrimp and lobster filling.  We made a whopping 80 ravioli!

We put the ravioli we weren't going to eat into the freezer for a future meal, then cooked our fresh ravioli for dinner.  For the sauce, we sauteed shallots, garlic, red pepper and tomato paste, then added some of the seafood stock (the rest went in the freezer) and reduced it all down.  The final step was to add a little half and half for creaminess plus a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it (we copied the sauce on the 'Dining Under the Table' website).  We topped the ravioli with shredded basil for the finishing touch.  It was fantastic!

Thanks to Dining Under the Table for the inspiration for our delicious meal!  If I promise not to compete with you for business, will you please keep posting info on the wonderful recipes you're coming up with??

p.s.  It was revealed last week that local blog SoCo Eats is part of Dining Under the Table.  Based on how our meal inspired by their website turned out, I predict great things for them!


  1. Definitely sounds fab and glad we were able to provide some inspiration. And thanks for the tip on H-Mart for shrimp w/ heads. Do you know if the shrimp were domestic?

    On double zero flour, I kinda gave up on that a while back. For me it was hard to find and I thought it cost too much. I haven't noticed any drop in quality since only using King Arthur. And when I do my pasta dough, I let it rest 30 mins on the counter and then it seems good to go.

    Keep an eye on DUTT for more recipes. We're doing another dinner in a couple weeks. And made a wonderful manicotti the other night. Nothing fancy, and pretty much comfort food, but it rocked the house.

  2. I stopped by H-Mart for dinner ingredients on Thursday and checked out the source for their raw shrimp w/heads. They were farm-raised from Honduras, so unfortunately, so they're not domestically raised like you're looking for. Thanks also fro the tip on just letting the pasta dough rest on the counter for 30 min. My recipe calls for it to be refrigerated for several hours before rolling it out, but it ends up being hard as a rock if I leave it in the fridge that long.

  3. Thanks for checking on the shrimp. I wasn't that familiar with farm-raised Honduran shrimp and so did a quick search. Was hoping for the best (or at least something acceptable), but alas that was not the case. I won't get into the details, but their farming, and that of many other countries, leave A LOT to be desired. This is really too bad because it seems around here if you find shrimp that still have the heads it's almost always in an ethnic market. Well, the search continues.

  4. They cary '00' at Marchone's? I didn't see it there when I was on my quest to find it awhile back (for Pizza dough). Thanks for the tip!