Earlier in the week a purveyor dropped off some rigatoni as a holiday thank you for doing business. Seeing these, and as we were going to be really busy for Christmas dinner (!), I re-gift the rigatoni and turned them into an amusé that we could produce quickly.
The rigatoni was blanched to ‘al dente’ in salted, boiling water and cooled to room temperature on a sheet pan lined with parchment. As soon as it cools slightly, toss with a good olive oil. One of the biggest errors made when blanching pasta is to shock it as this washes away the starch which gives good pasta its texture.
The filling is a scallop mousseline with diced laughing bird shrimp that’s seasoned with cayenne and tarragon.
Lay out a small sheet of plastic wrap on a clean surface left attached to the box.
Once the pasta is cooled to room temperature, the mousse is placed in a pastry bag and piped into the rigatoni. Five of these filled rigatoni are then placed side by side on the plastic wrap and then rolled and tied. They are then covered with lobster stock and poached in a steamer at 145? F for about 18 minutes.
This is a photo before cooking:
They are then cooled to room temperature and removed from the plastic as needed and sliced to separate each rigatoni as the mousse will have caused many to bind together.
Trying to keep the preparation similar to cannelloni, a béchamel became the sauce. To add a twist to it, I finished it with some green lobster roe butter (straight from Daniel Bouloud’s repertoire @ Le Cirque) which turns red as it heats. Pernod was added for acidity and this was spooned atop the rigatoni before being topped with the tarantaise cheese and gratinéed.
Lobster roe butter is added…
…and turns red when heated:
It may not look too spectacular an amuse bouche, but the deep flavor and perfectly cooked mousse made for a perfect little bite.