Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Smoked Salmon and Goat’s Cheese Tortellini with Prawns and Green Peas

      A special St.Valentine’s Day survey in one magazine showed that on a romantic date most people prefer to order pasta – no doubt, the Italian food can put one in a necessary mood! But what about a candle-light dinner at home? Boiling fettuccini and tossing them with cream is too simple – to the point of being inappropriate for a special meal. Making your own pasta, on the contrary, will allow you to express your feelings through the dish.

            Don’t yield to temptation to stop reading the post right here: home-made pasta is only deceptively difficult to make! You need to have just basic culinary skills to prepare the dough and a creative touch to make a complimentary sauce. I for one enjoy making ravioli most of all as there’s no limit to the variety of stuffing you can put inside.

            Last year when I needed to prepare a special meal, I searched the Masterchef website and found an amazing recipe of smoked salmon and goat’s cheese tortellini. After one hour of preparations (you see – it doesn’t take that much time and effort!) I ended up having one of the most beautiful and flavourful dishes I’ve ever cooked: the subtle taste of smoked salmon and the pungent aroma of goat’s cheese, together with a zing of a lime and a refreshing touch of dill couldn’t but make the dish a success. Prawns and peas, surprisingly, didn’t seem to be “over-the-top” elements on the plate: they added the depth to the taste and to the colour profile of the dish.

            I encourage you to make this stunning pasta at home: your special one will definitely appreciate it!

Recipe adapted from the original by Skye Craig (www.masterchef.com.au)


Pasta dough
100 gm plain flour, sifted
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of salt

60 gm goat’s cheese
2 tbsp crème fraiche
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
50 gm smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped

2 tbsp garlic-flavoured olive oil
150 gm prawns, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
50 gm fresh peas
½ lime, juiced
2 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp capers
25 gm salmon caviar
½ lime, juiced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A few dill springs

 1. To make the pasta dough, place flour, egg, olive oil and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Pulse until the dough starts to come together. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface, lightly dusted in flour and knead for a few minutes until the dough is firm and elastic. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour at room temperature.

2. To make the pasta filling, stir to combine goat’s cheese, crème fraiche, dill and lime zest in a bowl.

3. Roll a piece of pasta dough to 1 – 2 mm thickness. Use a cutter to cut it into 6cm squares.

 Place a piece of smoked salmon and 1 tsp of filling in the centre of each square.

Fold the bottom corner to the top to form a triangle enclosing the filling.

Wrap it around your index finger, with the top point of the triangle facing away from you. Squeeze the two ends together where they overlap and remove your finger.

Place on a tray, dusted with flour and repeat with the remaining pasta dough and squares.

4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the prawns, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, flip on the other side, add the peas, lime juice and wine. Cook for a further few minutes until the prawns are cooked through.

5. To serve, boil the tortellini in a large pan with salted water for 3 – 4 minutes. Arrange them on a plate, spoon the prawns and peas in the centre, drizzle with olive oil and lime juice and garnish with salmon caviar and springs of dill.

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