Kitchen Confidential- The Ivy Inn's Lobster "Raviolo"

kc-ivyinn-angelo1 Chef Angelo Vangelopoulos munches on his "raviolo". PHOTO BY WILL WALKER

After growing up in the restaurants of his parents, chef Angelo Vangelopoulos hopped from city to city trying to find a restaurant to call his own. After learning from award-winning French and Italian master chefs, Vangelopoulos stopped by a Charlottesville property listed for sale in 1995. After touring the property, the chef and his parents knew the Ivy Inn was their calling. Fifteen years later, the Inn continues to court local farms and growers to supply its regionally-inspired blend of French, Italian, and Greek cuisines.

The secret to success in the restaurant biz is... to surround yourself with good people and to have a sincere love of food. My secret go-to ingredient is... bacon– it makes a dish better, without a doubt. The secret behind the "local" food hype is... for the majority of produce, you cannot get better than what you get around here. It's supporting the local economy, it can't be fresher, it tastes good and is good for us, and having a relationship with a grower makes me feel better. Every bit of the hype, I buy– and I can taste the difference. The secret to making the Ivy Inn's Lobster "Raviolo" is... fresh lobster, good eggs for the pasta, and not overworking the pasta.

The Ivy Inn's Lobster "Raviolo"

For the dough (can be done up to two days ahead): 1 pound durum semolina 4 eggs 1 tbsp olive oil

Put all ingredients in food processor, pulse on and off a couple of times being careful not to overwork the ingredients.

Empty the dough makings onto a cutting board and press together with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest a minimum of one hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

For the filling (can be done up to one day ahead): 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 small parsnip, peeled, cut into very small dice 1 small leek, whites only, cut into very small dice, washed thoroughly in cold water, and drained 8 oz. cooked lobster meat, diced 3 tbsp mascarpone cream 3 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano 1 tbsp chopped herbs (chervil, chives, parsley) salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat until foamy.

kc-ivyinn-angelo2The Ivy Inn's Lobster "Raviolo". PHOTO BY WILL WALKER

Add the parsnips and leeks and saute gently until tender. Transfer onto a small plate and chill completely in the refrigerator.

When cold, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and fold together until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Store the filling in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pasta.

To make the Raviolo (can be done up to one day ahead): Set up your pasta maker on a sturdy work surface and dust the work top with a little durum flour.

Roll the dough through the machine, progressively getting thinner with each pass until the dough is thin enough that you can just barely see your hand through it. Dust the work surface generously with flour again.

Lay the dough down on the work surface, and cut it in half. The top layer should be gently folded, held to the side, and covered with a towel.

Brush the bottom layer with an egg wash mixture (1 egg, 1/4 cup water) and mound the lobster mixture into 8 equal piles evenly distributed across the sheet of pasta.

Carefully line up and lay the top layer of pasta over the top of the lobster piles, and using your fingers, seal around each pile while pushing the air out from around the lobster. Using a large round cutter, cut the raviolo into 8 individual pieces. Transfer them onto a cookie sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal and store in the refrigerator until ready to cook and serve.

For the sauce (can be done up to two hours ahead): 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1 small leek, cut into large dice, washed thoroughly in cold water and drained 4 oz. Oyster mushrooms, cut and removed from stem base salt and pepper 2 oz. white wine 16 oz. heavy cream 1 tbsp chopped herbs (chervil, parsley, chives) 2 tsp lemon juice

Heat the butter in a large saute pan until foamy. Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add some salt and pepper.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce until almost dry.

Add the heavy cream and reduce over medium heat until reduced by almost 1/2. Add the herbs and lemon juice, recheck the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Keep sauce warm in the pan and reserve until ready to finish the dish. To serve the dish: Cook the raviolo in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-4 minutes (dependent upon the thickness of the dough). Test for doneness by pulling a piece out and squeezing the edge to be sure it is tender.

Take the pasta out of the water (the best tool for this is a wire skimmer or slotted spoon. DO NOT pour into a colander. This will likely cause the pasta to burst and waste all of your hard work!) and put it immediately into the reserved sauce. Carefully toss the pasta in the sauce, and transfer onto four large hot dinner plates or eight small appetizer plates. Mound the leeks and mushrooms on top of the pasta, and finish by sprinkling a couple of teaspoons of tobiko caviar on and around the pasta.

Eat your food while it's hot and yummy!


1 comment

The tasting menu is out of this world, pork scrumptious, and the vegetables crisp and delicious. This is the place; if you appreciate fine food and excellent service.