Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Lobster & Leek Labioli
by SuSu and MaceVindaloo

Menu: Leek & Lobster Filling | Lean, Mean Arrabiata | Fresh Pasta Sheets | Lovely Labioli

When Emperor Palpatine died, Ysanne Isard moved quickly to arrest Mara Jade; the Director of Intelligence hadn't known that this woman was The Emperor's Hand, but she did suspect she was not simply a beautiful piece of dalliance. But Mara managed to escape the prison and leave the planet in less than a day; she ended up in the spaceport Phorliss on Commenor, working in a grungy cantina run by a fierce looking, lumpy, hulking Houk with a heart of gold named Gorb Drig.

In addition to the drunks and thugs who frequented his cantina, he'd occasionally get a "business" customer looking to celebrate a good deal. Then Drig would get some homards from a spaceport black marketer, boil them up, plonk them on a plate and collect the hefty fee. The patron would eat the easily accessible meat from the tail and the overgrown claws and leave happy.

Mara, who carried the plate back to the kitchen, noticed the meat in the skinny legs and under the carapace was untouched. Drig made a sort a sort of soup out of them which he shared with Mara, his only employee. Familiar with the luxurious crustaceans, she was still surprised at how tasty the simple broth was, and enjoyed learning how to pick the meat out of the shell and legs. She was also surprised at how much meat there actually was in the discarded shell.

Soon after, Mara Jade found herself drawn to a hardened but beautiful woman who'd come to drink at the cantina. This sudden feeling took Mara by surprise; after Palpatine had died, she never thought she'd thaw out of the numbness that overtook her, and she thought she was done with love for life. She didn't think she was ready for anything serious, but decided to enjoy the feeling by preparing a special lunch the next time the mysterious woman came in. That would be the extent it.

With Gorb's permission, Mara had saved and frozen the scrap meat, roe and tomally from the homards; she had bought a few luxurious leeks from a purveyor who had too many. She sliced these thinly and cooked them slowly, and froze them, too. Finally, when the woman came to the cantina again, Mara thawed these items (thinking it was herself thawing) and combined them, stuffing them between two sheets of hand-rolled pasta to make a ravioli. In the brief time it took to assemble these plump pillows, Mara made a decision — she wouldn't serve it to this woman, but instead would share it after closing time with the person who showed her kindness and tenderness when she most needed it: Gorb Drig!

Menu: Leek & Lobster Filling | Lean, Mean Arrabiata | Fresh Pasta Sheets | Lovely Labioli

Lobster and Leek Filling
This recipe is based on one of the last meals she'd shared with Emperor Palpatine, the man whom she served with all her being. She would often cook a light supper for her master; it might be an unusual reward by most standards, but it meant the galaxy to her to know that he preferred her quiet company and her simple, delicious fare over the most glittering of environments and the most expensive dishes on Imperial City. To Mara, this was the purest, noblest expression of love. She would later combine softened leeks with any manner of seafood to serve over plain pasta strands or rice or even baked potatoes. But stuffed into pasta pillows, it was luxurious, pure, and noble.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • about 1 cup lobster, including roe, tomalley, meat from under the carapace (headshell), legs, etc. (the tomally and roe are the most flavorful bits)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
Heat pan over medium heat and heat the olive oil. Add the sliced leeks and cook slowly so it softens without coloring. Turn off the heat and add the lobster bits and pieces and combine well with the leeks. Turn the heat back on on medium till the filling simmers; it will redden slightly as the lobster meat cooks through. Turn off the heat again, and season to taste with salt and pepper. You'll likely need less salt than you think, since the seafood is salty. Makes about 2 cups.

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Lean, Mean Arrabiata
There are many variations of a spicy tomato-y pasta sauce throughout the galaxy, and for some reason, they are all affiliated with prostitutes! As if this was either made by exhausted working girls, or perhaps evoked their "saucy" personalities? Mara's version was extremely simple and she used it over rich meat and fish preparations as a spicy fillip to cut through the richness of the main ingredient. With no fats and all acid, intense flavor, it was a lean, mean sauce, and it goes extremely well with rich entrées, even as a dip for the fried crispics and other greasy treats in which Gorb Drig's cantina specialized. A bonus — spicy, salty food would encourage patrons to drink more!
  • 19 oz / 530 g can of peeled, diced, seeded tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • ¼ cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano OR basil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
In a pot, dump in the tomatoes with the canned juice, the red pepper flakes (start with less than you think you'll want — it's always easier to add later), the soy sauce, the dried herb, and the garlic powder. Boil hard till the tomatoes start to break down a bit and the juice has thickened. Taste the sauce when it's boiled down to your liking and add more pepper flakes or soy sauce to taste. Makes about 3 cups.

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Fresh Pasta Sheets
Making noodle dough is something many children remember at a beloved grandmother's home. Mara never knew her grandmother, but she did learn this dough from the man who could be called her evil grandfather ... Palpatine himself! He was bad to the midichlorian, but he made a divine, delicious noodle without machines, plastic wrap, waiting time, or the Force!
    Fresh Pasta
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2¼ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
Either put the flour in a bowl or in a mound on a clean counter surface. Make a well in the pile of flour in either case, and pour the eggs into the hole. Using a fork, beat the eggs and flour together. As the dough comes together, you will need to dump it out of the bowl (if you're using that) onto the counter and knead the dough till it's smooth, using more flour if the dough is sticky. It helps a bit to let the dough rest before going to the next step. Wrap it up in a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. You can freeze or refrigerate the dough at this point; be sure to thaw and warm to room temperature and have some extra flour on hand for dusting before proceeding.

Cut the dough into manageable slabs — about one egg's worth of dough at a time is workable. Keep the rest of the dough wrapped so it doesn't dry out before you're ready to process it. Using a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll the dough into thin sheets. You can cut them into noodles of any width, or use them as broad lasagne sheets, or to make dumplings or ravioli. If you are serving this as a pasta-and-sauce dish, it'll serve 3 or 4.

Keep the dough covered till you need it, to prevent it from drying out.

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Lovely Labioli
When Mara surprised Gorb Drig with this dish, he was astonished. Hadn't Mara told him she was making it for someone she admired? Surely, she hadn't meant him! When she asked him what he thought of it, he was so overcome that he cold only stammer out, "L ... lovely ..." And he had started tearing up with emotion, and when he tried to thank her for the gesture, she thought he called the dish "Labioli," so hard was he blubbering ... so that's what she called it: Lovely Labioli!
Roll out the pasta sheets quite thin, between 1/8" to 1/16" (just under 2mm) in depth. Trim it into a strip, and have another one ready of identical size. How many ravioli you make will depend on how big the ravioli are. It's recommended you make biggish ones; if you want these as an appetizer, one or two will do. For a meal, allow four or five per serving.

Put a scant tablespoon (vary depending on how many you want to make) of filling every 2" / 5 cm or so. Brush water ont he pasta around the filling dollops, then lay the second sheet over the first. Carefully tamp down the dough on top to the dough on the bottom, being careful to seal in the filling with a minimum of air around it. Cut with a sharp knife or pizza cutter between the lumps of sealed filling, then crimp the edges with a fork.

Have a big pot of salted water boiling hard, and drop no more than 5 or 6 large ravioli into the water and cook for about a minute. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dry, and if the dough was thin enough, it'll cook up really fast. Have a clean tea towel / dishcloth set out on the counter and lift the cooked ravioli out carefully with a spider or slotted spoon, and drain on the cloth.

Repeat with additional pasta and filling.

To serve, place a spoonful of the sauce on the bottom of a plate, then place ravioli on top, then ladle sauce over that. You can stack up the ravioli like this with sauce between each layer of ravioli and serve it out, too.

Makes 15 to 20 large ravioli.

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