Lobster Chef of the Year finalist, Bill Clifford, from the Portland Harbor Hotel whipped up his Maine Lobster & Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe. He was the first of the three chefs to present and this was a delicious selection.
Rustic Maine Lobster and Butternut Squash Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts, Sage and Maple Bacon
Serves 6 as an entrée
1 pound of Maine lobster meat cut into bite sized cubes
1 pound of peeled butternut squash cut into cubes
½ pound of peeled Russet potato cut into cubes
2 leeks cleaned and cut into 1 inch cubes
5 cloves of fresh garlic
2 cups of light cream
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to season, approximately 1 ½ teaspoons
For the rest of the dish
1 package of prepared pasta sheets, or 6 squares 10 inches by 10 inches
¾ cup of walnut halves, lightly toasted and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 bunch of fresh sage, roughly chopped
6 slices of good bacon
2 tablespoons of real Maine maple syrup
8 tablespoons butter
¼ cup of dry vermouth
1 bunch of chives, minced
-In a large, shallow pot combine the butternut, potato, leeks, garlic, cream, water, and spices. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until the squash and potatoes are tender.
-When the mixture is cool enough to handle, ladle the solid part of the mixture in batches into a food processor and blend until smooth, adjusting the consistency with the liquid. We want a smooth paste. There might be leftover liquid when you are finished; that’s OK- the liquid content of the squash varies wildly. Make the paste and thin it out as you go with the cooking liquid. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside.
-Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.
-Drizzle the maple syrup over the bacon and roast the bacon at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and fragrant. Cool, roughly chop and set aside.
-Boil a large pot of salted water for your pasta sheets.
-Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium sized sauté pan, add the lobster, season with salt and pepper, and as the meat becomes fragrant, add the squash puree. Fold the mixture together and keep it warm.
-Melt the other 6 tablespoons of butter in another medium sized sauté pan. When the butter begins to foam, add the walnuts, the sage and the bacon. Off the heat, add the vermouth. The alcohol should burn off at this point. Toss the mixture together, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
-Cook the pasta sheets, draining each one of excess water. As they are complete, rest each one on a dinner plate. You want to leave some off each sheet resting off the plate; we are going to fold the sheet in half over the filling, creating the ravioli effect.
-Carefully spoon 1/6 of the mixture, or approximately 8 ounces, onto each sheet, fold the top over the mixture, and press a small dimple into each ravioli.
-Spoon 1/6 of the walnut mixture, or approximately 3 ounces, on top of each one, carefully drizzling some of the pan butter on top of each ravioli.
-Garnish each one with minced chives.”