River Cottage Australia



Paul West from River Cottage Australia shows you how to make luxurious crab ravioli with bisque from scratch.


  • For The Crab

  • 1-2 large mud crabs (see how to kill a crab below)

  • 2 tbsp rice bran oil

  • 1/2 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, chopped

  • 1 leek, chopped into 3cm pieces

  • 1/2 litre fish stock

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • 1 ½ cups white wine

  • 1 small bunch samphire (about ½ cup)

  • For The Pasta

  • 200g fine Italian “00” flour, plus extra

  • 2 eggs

  • For The Pickle

  • 1 cup white wine vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • 2 cups pig face, leaves picked


  • 1.

    Preheat oven 200C. Cook mud crab in boiling water 5-10 minutes, until they turn bright red. Remove from water and pull apart, cracking open legs and main body to pick all meat from the crab, reserve meat. Reserve hard shells, discard unwanted insides from crab’s body.

  • 2.

    Place crab shells on a baking tray and roast in oven, about 20 minutes.

  • 3.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and sauté onion, carrots and leek, until tender. Add fish stock and roasted shells and bring to a simmer. Add tomato paste and white wine and let simmer very gently 30-60 minutes. Sauce should be quite reduced, almost a sauce-like consistency.

  • 4.

    To make pasta, place flour in a mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre. Add eggs and gently whisk with a fork, drawing in flour as you go. Use your other hand to support the walls of the mound as you work. Bring the dough together, knead for 5 minutes, until elastic and smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside 30 minutes to rest.

  • 5.

    To make pigface pickle, heat all ingredients except the pig face in a medium saucepan over a low heat, until simmering, about 5-8 minutes. Place pig face in a medium bowl and cover with warm pickle brine. Set aside and let cool, place in refrigerator if liked.

  • 6.

    To roll out pasta, divide dough into 2 portions. Set a pasta machine on the widest setting and sprinkle a little flour over the machine to prevent sticking. Flatten one portion of the dough and feed it through the machine. Fold it in half acrossways and feed it through the machine again. Repeat with other piece of dough. Half the dough with a knife acrossways if it makes the dough more manageable any stage. Make the machine setting a little thinner and repeat with both pieces of dough, feeding each through twice. Narrow the machine setting 1 notch at a time, until you reach the second last setting. The pasta should be about 1mm thick and about 9-10cm wide.

  • 7.

    Pick over the crab meat one more time to ensure there are no pieces of shell or cartilage. Add ¼ cup reduced bisque to the picked crab meat and fold through to moisten. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  • 8.

    Place one prepared pasta sheet on a well-floured board or work surface. Place heaped teaspoons of crab at 5cm intervals on the sheet, leaving at least 2cm border around the edges. Brush around the filling with water and lay over another sheet of pasta. Press firmly around the filling with your fingers, being sure to help air bubbles escape. Use a round cutter to cut around the filling, then press down around the crab again with your fingers to shape ravioli. Prepare a large saucepan of boiling, salted water.

  • 9.

    Cook ravioli in two batches for  3-5 minutes, until al dente or “to the tooth”. Use a slotted spoon to transfer ravioli to a plate.

  • 10.

    To serve, spoon ½ cup bisque sauce into each bowl and lay a single ravioli over the top. Decorate plates with pickled pigface and samphire, then serve.

  • Tip For Killing A Crab:

  • 1.

    First desensitize the live crab by placing it in a freezer for 2 hours. This is only humane if it is done in a large freezer (remove other items to make more space if needed), that is set at about minus(-)18C. If it is too cold or too warm the process may not desensitize the crab. Meanwhile, prepare a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water. Remove the crab from the freezer and place in rapidly boiling water 5-10 minutes to cook.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (104 servings)

  • Energy 475kj
  • Fat Total 43g
  • Saturated Fat 15g
  • Protein 17g
  • Carbohydrate 2g
  • Sugar 0g
  • Sodium 215mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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