There are fireworks on New Year’s Eve for a reason. It’s a time for the best we’ve got. A dinner like this requires a lot of you. But oh my, is it worth it. And the one you make it for will think so, too. And I’m sure they’ll be grateful.
I cooked a lot today. I picked one and a half pounds of snow crab. Kind of tedious. Made a stock from the crab shells and froze it. Easy. Cooked up a batch of ricotta. Simple, but a little time-consuming. Mixed up a big batch of homemade pasta. Great workout. Rolled said pasta into lasagna noodles. Time consuming, but simple. Assembled said pasta and crab, etc. into rollatini. Pretty simple. Bake. But my oh my, look what happened to the time! Nothing today was difficult, but it all took time.
That seductive, elusive siren: time. Everyone (hello, Thirty Minute Meals) will tell you that you don’t have enough of it, that you have to squeeze more out of what you’re given. Don’t believe them. Take pleasure in the cooking tasks in front of you. Your end results are what nurture you and those you love. For a real wow factor, make something at home that is worth both your effort and your time.
Crab, Leek and Ricotta Rollatini, serves 4
STEP ONE: Make Ricotta
STEP TWO: Make the filling
Mix 2 cups of cooked crab, 2 cups of ricotta, 1 leek that’s been sautéed in olive oil, 6 stems’ worth of picked thyme leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Reserve a spoonful of the filling for garnish.
STEP THREE: Make the pasta
You will find a large variety of fresh pasta recipes online and in cookbooks. A quick guideline ratio is 1 cup of flour to 1 egg plus one egg yolk. I follow the recommendation of the flawless Marco Pierre White. Easy. Accurate. Delicious. I grated the remainder of our truffles (three tiny ones) into the dough. Please try to add this if you can. It makes a world of difference.
STEP FOUR: Assemble the dish
I rolled the mixture into rollatini (heaping bits of the mix along the length of the pasta), greased the dish with truffle butter (thank you, Snowville and Greener Grocer) and baked for 20 minutes at 350 F. You may do as you wish. Cut your pasta into strips for papardelle and toss with the crab mixture. Make ravioli and use the crab as the filling. Just know that by making your own pasta you will attain new heights of flavor.
At the end of the day, this dish is about the transformative power of cooking. The pasta is flour and eggs. The cheese is simply warmed milk and a bit of lemon. The truffles and leeks are pure earthiness. Do yourself a favor – take the time to make something extraordinary. It’s that time of year for fireworks.
Serve with Prosecco.
Playlist included Wow, by Kylie Minogue. On repeat.