Jason Harley, chef/owner of PICI Enoteca, Beverly Hills,
Calif., menus seafood ravioli stuffed with sea urchin and
Burrata, serving six ravioli per entree order or three per
“I find pasta to be a litmus test for any worthy restaurant, because
if simple things cannot be done well, then you’re in trouble,” says
John Eisenhart, executive chef at Pazzo, Portland, Ore.
The live sea urchin with the hole on top is placed on a cutting
board. A pair of heavy, thick kitchen scissors is inserted into
the hole on the top of the dome, cutting toward the outside of
the sea urchin until the scissors have gone around in a circle.
“You essentially want to cut the top off the creature without
going too deep, because you don’t want to puncture the roe,”
He prepares beef marrow tortelli. “A ‘tortelli’ is an older,
generic name for filled pasta, similar to how we use the word
‘ravioli’ today,” Eisenhart says.
Split marrow bones are soaked in salted water overnight, which
removes some of the blood. The bones are patted dry, seasoned, and
roasted in a 450°F convection oven for 6-9 minutes, or until fragrant.
The bones are set in the freezer to quickly chill the marrow until cool
and easy to handle. The marrow is removed and hand-chopped
to remove any possibility of bone chips, put in a mixer with sea
salt, pepper and a small amount of lardo, and blended smooth.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bottom, Kimberley Williams
After any liquid is drained and organs removed, the roe is
removed by carefully running a rubber spatula under the roe
along the inside of the urchin. “Roe is extremely fragile and
can break easily, so gently collect it whole,” Harley says.
“Use your fingers or tweezers to remove any additional
viscera from the roe, and clean the roe by rinsing in cold
water and draining well.”
About an ounce of filling is in each tortelli. “What we use to
seal the pasta layers varies each time,” Eisenhart explains. “If
it’s a very wet filling, I use water. If the filling is drier, then I use
egg yolk and sea salt.”
After the dough is rolled and cut, one sea urchin, ½ ounce
Burrata, basil chiffonade, fresh ground pepper and sea salt
are added, and a second piece of dough is placed on top and
sealed. The cooked ravioli are plated and garnished with
another sea urchin, lobster broth, crispy prosciutto, chopped
Italian parsley and puréed Italian parsley oil.
The tortelli is served with beef cheek ragu made with red wine,
mirepoix, anchovy and tomato, and garnished with chopped
ROB BENES, A CHICAGO-BASED JOURNALIST, WAS PREVIOUSLY THE EDITOR OF CHEF
AND CHEFEDUCATOR TODAY. HE HAS MORE THAN NINE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WRITING
ABOU T CHEFS, FOOD, WINE AND SPIRITS FOR TRADE AND EDUCATIONAL PUBLICATIONS.
Since May 2011, Chris Watson, chef de
cuisine at BRABO, BRABO Tasting Room
and The Butcher’s Block, Alexandria, Va.,
fills orders for custom ravioli and tortellini
(and long noodles) with 1-3 days notice and
no minimum order size, to be picked up at
The Butcher’s Block. “We’ll make any type
of ravioli or tortellini. No questions asked,
as long as the ingredients are in season,”
which made the production of pasta much
easier. “I thought it would be an interesting
concept for people to be able to customize
whatever they wanted,” he explains.
customized PASTA PROGRAM
a Bolognese sauce, but if the customer
wants a custom-made sauce, Watson will
accommodate that request.
“We’ll make any type of ravioli or
tortellini. No questions asked, as long
as the ingredients are in season.”
The pasta program came about after Watson
ordered a pasta machine for BRABO,
The price per ravioli is market price,
based on the ingredients at the time,
but in general, the customer pays $2
per ravioli. Each order can be sold with
The most unique pasta he makes are
liquid ravioli, which involves any type of
liquid, such as a stock, tomato water or a
lobster cream, to which gelatin is added
to make it stiff. It is then stuffed inside
the pasta. “When you cook the ravioli, it
turns to liquid,” Watson says, “and when
you bite into the ravioli, the warm liquid
bursts into your mouth.”