Our celeb chef Aldo Zilli wooed diners at Cicchetti in Manchester and London this month with two special Valentine’s creations. Not just for star-crossed lovers, the lavish lobster ravioli and delicious strawberry tiramisu can be enjoyed by anyone that loves seriously good food.
And we wanted to share the love post Valentine’s Day by recreating Aldo’s exclusive recipes here for you to try at home.
Lovers of great seafood will adore the lobster ravioli, its parcels filled with a blend of the finest lobster, smoked salmon and scallops with a touch of double cream and tarragon. The ravioli is balanced perfectly by a sauce of spider crab, spring onions, garlic, a hint of cream and chilli.
Aldo’s strawberry tiramisu replaces the traditional coffee and Marsala with Grand Marnier and dark chocolate makes way for fresh strawberries and a decadent white chocolate sauce; sure to satisfy the sweetest-toothed-desires. Serve with a chilled glass of prosecco. Enjoy!
For the pasta dough:
- 400g ‘00’ Flour
- 3 free-range eggs, plus 2 free-range egg yolks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Large pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
- 1x 750g live lobster
- 100g smoked salmon
- 3-4 scallops
- 20ml dry vermouth
- 100ml double cream
- ½ tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 free range egg, beaten
- 50g unsalted butter
- Fresh tarragon shoots, to garnish
For the sauce:
- 4 medium spider crabs
- 160ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 courgettes, diced
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp prosecco
- 100ml whipping cream
- Juice of 1 lemon
For the pasta dough:
1. Place all of the pasta ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Tip mixture onto clean work surface and shape into ball. Knead for a few minutes, then wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling:
1. Kill lobster humanely and preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Cut the lobster in half lengthways. Discard the matter in the head section. Remove and discard the sac behind the eyes. Remove any green tomally (liver) and roe in the body section. Remove the claws, and the meat from the tail.
3. Cook the lobster tail meat and claws in a pan of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, then finely chop the lobster tail meat. Once claws have cooled, crack them open and carefully remove the meat.
4. Place the salmon, scallops and vermouth into a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and add the double cream, tarragon and the finely chopped lobster meat. Set the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice and stir until the mixture thickens to a stiff mousse consistency.
5. Remove the pasta dough from the fridge and roll through a pasta machine.
6. Lay a sheet of pasta on a floured work surface and, using a teaspoon, place spoonfuls of the lobster mixture along the sheet, leaving a gap between each mound of mixture. Brush the surface with beaten egg then lay second sheet of pasta on top. Cut the ravioli to size.
For the sauce:
1. Place crabs in a large pot of cold water and bring slowly to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes then cool in a large bowl of iced water for about 20 minutes.
2. Remove meat from the crabs, reserving the crab shells. Crack the claws, place them in a roasting tray and roast in the oven with 100ml olive oil, half the spring onions, half the garlic and 1 chilli for 10-12 minutes.
3. Remove the roasted crab shells from the oven and cover with water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Strain the crab stock through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Deglaze the pan with the prosecco. Reduce it down and add 100ml of whipping cream.
5. In a clean pan, heat the remaining extra virgin olive oil and gently fry the garlic, chilli, spring onions and courgettes for 2-3 minutes, then add the crab meat and 1 tbsp of parsley. Add this to the crab stock.
6. Cook the ravioli for 3-4 minutes in boiling water then add to the crab sauce and sauté for 1 minute, add lemon juice and stir. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.
- 6 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tbsp Grand Marnier
- 30 sponge fingers (preferably Pavesini biscuits available from all Italian delis)
- 6 eggs, separated
- 165g (5 ½ oz) caster sugar
- 325ml (11 fl oz) double cream
- 500g (1 lb) mascarpone
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 250g (9 oz) strawberries, sliced
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- For the white chocolate sauce:
- 85g butter
- 200g white chocolate
- 100ml single cream
1. Mix together the orange juice and Grand Marnier. Dip half the sponge fingers quickly in the mixture, do not allow to soak, then lay on the bottom of a square flat dish.
2. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar. Remove from the heat and beat until pale, doubled in volume and creamy.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, beat the cream until thick. Fold the mascarpone into the cream, then fold in the egg whites and vanilla. Finally fold in the egg yolk mixture.
4. Spread some of the creamy mixture over the soaked sponge fingers in the dish then add a layer of strawberries. Add another layer of soaked fingers, more creamy mixture and strawberries. Continue layering, ending with a layer of sponge fingers. Cover with cling film and chill for 2 hours.
5. In the meantime, make your white chocolate sauce by mixing the butter and white chocolate together in a heatproof bowl and setting over a pan of steaming water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally.
6. Once the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat and fold in the single cream. (Can serve at room temperature or chilled).
7. Remove your strawberry tiramisu from the fridge and remove cling film. Completely coat the top of the pudding with the white chocolate sauce and serve.