Lobster Tortelli with Lamb Sweetbreads and Asparagus Ragout
Chef John Besh of Restaurant August – New Orleans, LA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 6 Servings


    Lobster Filling:
  • 1 cup lobster meat
  • 1 Tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • Salt
  • Truffle oil

  • 1 pound flour
  • 1 Tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5 eggs

    Lamb Sweetbreads:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 celery stalk, large diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and large diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 pound lamb sweetbreads
  • 1 sheet parchment paper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

    Blanched White Asparagus:
  • 1 gallon boiling water
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 12 stalks white asparagus, peeled

    Blanched Fava Beans:
  • 1 cup shucked fava beans
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup salt
    Cream Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, large diced
  • ½ onion, large diced
  • 1 large white leek, washed and diced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup diced fennel bulb
  • 1 ounce hako fish bouillon
  • 1 pint water
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 pint dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh morel mushrooms, washed and dried
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pint Cream Sauce (Recipe above)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon

For Lobster Filling:
Place the lobster meat, shallot and mascarpone cheese in a food processor with a pinch salt and a dash of truffle oil. Blend until smooth and keep cold until use.

For Pasta:
Combine the flour, olive oil, a pinch of salt and 5 eggs in a tabletop mixer or by hand until smooth and completely incorporated. Let rest for about a half hour.

Cut a golf ball sized chunk of dough off. Working with a pasta machine, roll out the dough, lowering the setting by about one size per roll, into a 4- by10-inch rectangle. Fold the ends in lengthwise, overlapping each other. Turn the pasta 90 degrees and roll back out again into a 4- by 10-inch rectangle. Repeat this ten times until.

Once the pasta has been rolled out ten times, keep rolling it until it reaches the thinnest setting. Lightly flour it. To form the tortelli, use a 3-inch ring to punch out the dough. Dampen them with a pastry brush. Place a 1 teaspoon of the lobster filling in the center. Fold the bottom half of the pasta over the top and match the edges to form a half moon; press to seal. Dampen one corner of the pasta with water and connect the corners together, overlapping and pinching to seal. Fold the edges of the tortelli upon the stuffed part, much like a sock. Make thirty tortelli.

For Lamb Sweetbreads:
Bring the gallon of water to a boil, then to a simmer. Add the celery, onion, carrot, wine, bay leaves and thyme. When the carrots are tender scoop out the vegetables and aromatics. Drop in the sweet breads and cover with the parchment paper, cut into a circle with a small hole in the middle. When the sweetbreads are about medium rare remove and let cool. Peel the membrane off and break the sweetbreads into ½-inch chunks. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Dredge the sweet breads first in the flour that is seasoned with salt and pepper then through the egg wash, then through the panko bread crumbs. Shake off any excess crumbs.

For Blanched White Asparagus:
Bring the water to a boil with the sugar, salt, and lemon juice and drop in the asparagus. Cook over low heat. When the asparagus is cooked it should point at a 90º angle when held by the tip. Cool the asparagus in ice and some of the poaching liquid to retain the flavor. Immediately remove from the ice once chilled and dry on paper towels. Slice into 1-inch pieces on a bias.

For Blanched Fava Beans:
To blanch the fava beans, bring 3 quarts of heavily salted water to a boil and boil the beans for 30 seconds. Remove the beans and cover with ice using a little of the water to cool them down. Remove from the ice water and pat dry on paper towels.

For Cream Sauce:
From a cold sauce pan, start to heat up 1 tablespoon of oil, the celery, onion, leek, thyme, tarragon, bay leaf, and fennel. Sweat them together without browning. Once the vegetables are tender add in the fish bouillon, water, cream and vermouth, and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Once the mixture comes down to 1 cup, strain and hold on the side. Place it into a sauté pan heat on medium heat and add in the other tablespoon of olive oil, shallot, garlic and chopped thyme. This will be your cream sauce.

For Ragout:
Drop the tortelli into the boiling water to blanch as you make the sauce.

Heat a 12-inch sauté pan on medium heat and add in the olive oil. Sauté the ingredients starting with the mushrooms, thyme, shallots and garlic. Before the garlic burns add in the cream sauce and butter and bring to a boil; turn the heat off and add in the pasta from the water, then the fresh tarragon.

Fry the sweet breads in 350ºF oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and immediately salt. Add the fava beans, asparagus and sweet breads to the pasta pan and immediately serve in a warm bowl.


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   Published: May 2006