When thinking about influential Boston Chefs, award-winning Chef Lydia Shire is easily at the top, which is impressive when you consider it’s a male-dominated field (70% of employed chefs are men). Lydia has been a culinary force since she became the head chef at Maison Robert in 1974 and continued to break ground for other female chefs for decades. In 1986, she earned the honor of being the first woman executive chef to open a Four Seasons property. In 2001, Chef Lydia Shire solidified herself as a powerhouse when she became part owner and the first female chef at Boston’s historic Locke-Ober. It also happens that her latest home, Scampo, is one of our favorite Boston restaurants. We’re honored to have a recipe from this culinary pioneer during National Women’s History Month.
Chestnut Flour Ravioli of Lobster & Candied Chestnut, by Chef Lydia Shire
A beautiful, sumptuous, decadent ravioli of lobster mixed with a spoon or two of chestnut puree, mascarpone, chives, and lemon zest. The homemade chestnut flour pasta with lobster is perfect for an evening when one craves elevated comfort food or perhaps when you want to show off in the kitchen. Especially with bits of candied chestnut and crisped brussels sprout leaves for garnish. I would serve this with a buttery white burgundy (like Meursault ) or California Chardonnay.
- 3 c. 00 zero flour
- 1 c. chestnut flour
- 1.5 cups of fresh egg yolks
- 2 c. water ( approximately)
- semolina for tray
- 3 X 1.5 lbs. live lobsters
- 2 shallots peeled and diced
- 4 whole cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
- 1 red jalapeno diced without seeds
- 2 lemons
- 1 bunch of chives
- ½ c. mascarpone
- 1 lb. good unsalted butter – KERRY GOLD – delish
- 1 can French chestnut puree
- Malden’s sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz. chunk of best Parmigiano Reggiano
- ½ c. peeled chestnuts candied
- 1 pt. brussels sprouts leave fried in vegetable oil
- 1 package edible gold leaf
- ½ c. pure olive oil
- few tbls of good balsamic
- 1 skinny fresh baby or teenage carrot
- Separate eggs, saving the whites to make heart-shaped meringues. Measure 1.5 cups of yolks.
- In a large bowl, measure 3 cups of 00 zero flour and 1 cup of chestnut flour.
- Mix the two flours with a big pinch of salt.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yolks and 2 cups of lukewarm water.
- Stir, pulling the flour into the wet ingredients. As soon as you have a mass, empty the bowl onto a lightly floured board and knead until you have a smooth, shiny ball of pasta. You may need a few extra drops of water each time it is made; the dough can ‘act’ differently.
- When smooth, cover with a damp cloth or use plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour or more.
- Boil the 3 lobsters in salted water for 6 minutes (they will be slightly undercooked).
- Shock them in an ice bath. When cold, twist off the tails and reserve. Remove the meat from the claws, and the knuckles chop into small dice.
- Chop the peeled garlic, shallots, and red jalapeno into fine dice and sauté in 4 T. Kerry Gold until sweet, no color.
- Add diced lobster, toss to warm slightly, then add a good ½ cup ( or a bit more if you think ) mascarpone, ½ cup canned chestnut puree, 2 to 3 T. grated fresh parmesan cheese, salt, pepper. Lastly, add the chopped chives and finish with a bit of fresh lemon zest.
- Mix all, TASTE FOR SEASONING!! Readjust! Chill until you are ready to fill ravioli.
- To candy, the chestnuts, make a simple syrup from equal amounts of water and white sugar brought to a boil.
- When the sugar has melted, add ½ cup whole peeled chestnuts (optional: 1 whole vanilla pod split and seeded added to syrup )
- Turn the flame to low and simmer chestnuts for 30 min.
- Remove to plate and cool syrup.
- Place both in a jar in the refrigerator to use later.
- Roll out your pasta dough into long, thin strips.
- Use a ravioli mold or mold by hand, placing approximately 1 T. of filling in each.
- Seal with a spray of water and press with a rolling pin
- Unmold onto a half sheet pan and freeze until firm so you can then ‘snap’ and separate them. Keep frozen until ready for use.
You will have more ravioli than two people can eat in one evening, but something this good must have an ENCORE another night! That is why I am having you cook 3 lobsters so that you will have leftovers!
- Remove the outer leaves (only) of the brussels sprouts and deep fry in clean vegetable oil at 315 degrees until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, salt immediately. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm. Use the remaining Brussels sprouts another evening.
- Mix pure olive oil together with a few tablespoons of good balsamic.
- Add a tablespoon of the finest small dice of 1 small carrot.
- Add 2 or 3 sheets of edible gold leaf.
- Miix all together with a bit of salt and pepper, add chopped chives.
- Split 2 of the tails in half, remove the intestinal tract and gently warm the tail meat in Kerry Gold butter and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with or without the shells. (I like the shells – drama of course!) Let sit for a moment until you cook the ravioli. Make sure there is plenty of butter with the lobster, it will take on a lobster flavor as it sits. Squeeze a bit of lemon on them.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and have a large frying pan next to the larger pot.
- When the ravioli are cooked (I always test a corner of the pasta to make sure it is not hard or gummy) transfer the ravioli with a spider or slotted spoon to the frying pan that has half a cup of the boiling water from your pot.
- Immediately add ¾ to 1 stick of butter while swirling all together in a round motion to emulsify the butter and floury water, adding a large handful of grated parmesan, salt, and pepper.
- Place cooked ravioli on a heated plate, spoon on your lobster tails with all that yummy butter, and placing a bit of your gold leaf vinaigrette on each tail.
- Sprinkle all with the warm crisped Brussels sprout leaves and lastly sprinkle on the chopped candied chestnuts for garnish – ENJOY !!!!
Thank you to Lydia for sharing this gorgeous recipe, for providing Boston with such wonderful food for so many years, and for being an inspiration to aspiring female chefs.
Go HERE to make a reservation at Scampo.
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