This award-winning dish was created by Chef Goffredo Fraccaro at his Metairie, Louisiana restaurant La Riviera. He experimented over and over in attempting to create this dish and make it perfect, and he found that the simplest approach worked best. Try this ... it's fabulous, even though I suspect it's not exactly how they do it at the restaurant; I keep hearing whispers about different secret ingredients at every step.

For the crabmeat filling:

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over low-medium heat. Add the flour, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to make a blond roux. Gradually add the cream. Keep whisking the mixture to avoid lumps. Simmer this bechamel sauce until it's reduced to about 1 cup. Remove from heat and let cool.

Carefully pick through the crabmeat and make sure there are no bits of shell. Add the crabmeat to the bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in another pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the onions to the sauce, then stir in the cracker crumbs. Mix well, then set aside to cool. When the mixture has cooled, form it into balls about 3/4" across.

To make the pasta dough:

Place the flour into a bowl and add the egg, water and oil. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix together until the ingredients for a ball of dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then set in a lightly oiled bowl to rest for one hour.

After the dough has rested, place on a board that has been dusted with flour, and roll it out with a rolling pin until it's paper thin. You can also use a pasta machine to roll the dough out.

Apparently Chef Goffedo doesn't use eggs when he makes this at the restaurant, but it can be extremely difficult to work with non-egg pasta dough unless you've had a bit of experience, especially if you're using semolina flour.

To assemble the ravioli:

Space the balls of crabmeat filling out on the sheet of dough, about 1-1/2" from each other. Paint between the balls of dough with water, then lay another thin sheet of dough atop the balls. Press around each ball with your fingers to seal. Dust the top of the uncut ravoili with flour, then cut them apart with a pastry wheel (preferred) or a sharp knife. Boil the ravioli in rapidly boiling salted water for 5 minutes.

To make the sauce:

Heat the cream and reduce it by 1/3. Season the cream with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the butter a little at a time. Serve immediately over the freshly cooked ravioli, and top with the Parmagiano Reggiano cheese.



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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)