^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Crawfish Ravioli at D'Amico's

When we first heard about the crawfish ravioli at D'Amico's Italian Market Café, we weren't sure what to think other than, "That's worth a try."

But watching the dish (and other homemade ravioli) being made in the cafe kitchen last week turned that thought into, "When do we eat?"

The stuffing consists of chopped poblano peppers, green onions and pre-cooked crawfish meat run through a food processor. Those ingredients are added to a pot of olive oil and garlic and cooked for an hour, then strained. Chef Armando then spreads the mixture onto trays and tosses it in the cooler.

A half-hour later, he transfers the filling to a mixing bowl and adds ricotta, then Romano cheese. One batch of filling makes about 700 ravioli and lasts about a week. It's split into five separate containers, four of which are frozen until needed, when they're rolled into balls and sandwiched between two sheets of fresh pasta.

That's where Alicia takes over. She's been making pasta from scratch for restaurateur Nash D'Amico for 24 years at his various properties (though the crawfish ravioli has only been on the menu for the last 15 or so).

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The pasta consists of flour, paprika and eggs and is made about three times each week, depending on how fast the orders come in. The pasta sheets are held together with a coating of egg whites, an edible Elmer's glue. The fresh batches are blanched for about eight minutes in boiling water, then refrigerated on trays until a customer stabs his index finger at them through the glass, in which case Armando tosses the sauce together -- olive oil, onions, butter, plum tomatoes, heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper, and a few more crawfish tails -- adds a few of the ravioli, and serves it up.

The dish is as pleasant to eat as it was to film being made in the café's tight-quartered kitchen. The crawfish tails are packed with flavor, and a tinge similar, we think, to a citrus fruit. The seafood base builds with a nice texture, gritty in a good way. The pasta is firm and clearly the favorite at our table. It has a thick texture, firm but not chewy. The filling is clearly seafood, a bit like tuna, with the ricotta in the backseat where it belongs.

Granted, the stuffing is so thick it's occasionally the only thing left to chew, but making a meal of overfilled ravioli is far better than finding your pasta squares have been putting cucumbers in their pants, to thoroughly stretch a metaphor.

The sauce can't help but be wholesome with all that butter and cream in there, and the plum tomatoes give it a nice, even sweetness. But my companions are left seeking spice, or some form of originality. Specifically, they'd expected a Creole kick, given the crawfish title. But it should be noted: All plates are clean.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.