Iron Zenchef: Prawn Ravioli

The Food Network recently aired a rerun of the Iron chef battle between Mario Batali and Andrew Carmellini. It was past my bedtime but i watched it anyway just because it featured that same Andrew that hired me many years ago when I applied for a job at Cafe Boulud. Andrew Carmellini was then the executive chef working in the shadow of Daniel Boulud. I worked at Cafe Boulud as an underpaid chef de partie for a while and it was almost an honor to get my butt whipped by these two. I’ll write a post about it someday.

Andrew Carmellini has since moved on to open ‘A Voce’, a modern Italian restaurant on Park Avenue that got a 3 stars review in the New York Times, but rumor is on the street he’s about to start a new project. And Mario of course,.. well Mario doesn’t need to be introduced anymore, he’s the talented Italian chef with orange crocs and a ponytail who’s always on TV and who sometimes likes to hook-up with celebrities late at night in front of the Spotted Pig. Ooops.

The theme ingredient for the battle was parmegiano-reggiano and it was great to watch these two pasta experts battling it out. It was visible both chefs had great respect for each other so much they pulled some great looking dishes out of their sleeves. The verdict from the judges? Spoiler alert!.. I’m sad to announce, Iron chef Batali beat Carmellini by one [beeeep] point! [beep]!! One point![beeeeep]. &%#@!!

Huh!?.. Cot..cotechino?.. my!?..err..nevermind then!

I still wanted to set the record straight so the next day I met Mario for an imaginary wonton wrapper battle in Big Bossman’s kitchen stadium (I know this is deeply weird but wait, it gets better..). The judges were.. err… myself and my split personality other-self. Tough judges. They can’t seem to agree on anything these two. I set the timer and made those raviolis Iron Zenchef style in just about 15 minutes.

What did Mario make? err.. Who cares!?.. This was a battle between me and my evil-self. A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of struggle.

The verdict? Well, let’s hear what the judges had to say:

Split personality #1: Zenchef, this is really good! You’re pretty damn awesome at that cooking’ gig.

Split personality #2: Dude, you’re weird! Not even a chance. Batali’s cotechino ravioli sounds quite tasty though. What’s in it again?

Thanks judges, that really helps me A LOT. Dear readers, I let you decide whose cuisine reigns supreme. Grrrrr…!

Orange Crocs picture was borrowed from here.
Andrew Carmellini’s picture from here.

Prawn Ravioli with Cockles and Fresh Peas
(serves 4)

For the ravioli:

  • 1 tablespoon italian parsley leaves
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound peeled tiger shrimps, reserve a few for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cooked spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 40 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten, to brush on pasta

For the sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound clams or cockles, or even mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas, blanched


  • Put the parsley and basil into a food processor and process until chopped, then quickly add the prawns and process. Add the garlic, spinach, paprika and salt and process again. Finally, while the motor is still running, slowly add the cream. The whole process shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes. Put the mixture into a container and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

  • Make the raviolis. Spread the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and pipe the prawn mixture in the center. Brush the four sides with egg wash and immediately place another wonton wrapper on top. Seal tightly and cut to the desired shape with a cookie cutter. Reserve in the refrigerator.

  • To make the sauce, put a tablespoon of olive oil into a saucepan and add the equivalent of a clove of chopped garlic. Cook for a few minutes without allowing to color, then add the cockles, the clams or the mussels and cook for a few minutes, then add the white wine and cook for a further minute or two, to let the alcohol evaporate. Take off the heat and keep on the side. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the raviolis for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • While the ravioli are cooking, strain the clams liquid. In a large pan, saute garlic in olive oil and add the chopped tomatoes, the fresh peas and the clams. Add the reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning. Toss in the cooked ravioli and cook for a minute or two more. Serve immediately.

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  • foodhuntress79

    I swear, if I collect all you recipes… it’ll be a compilation of winning entries! I think you should be among the Iron Chef contenders one day.

    Hmmm… in ponytail and orange crocs… how did you know I’m fashioned exactly that way right this very minute? Haha.


  • Manggy

    You should have used this picture for Batali. You know it’s more accurate. 😛

    I’ll say you are always the winner, heh :) Prowns inside and outside? You get a hundred points!

  • aria

    those look so delicious and picture perfect. the cockles and peas sound lovely together too :)

  • daphne

    oh yum! great tips too.

  • Ann

    Your ravioli look delicious, but dude. Wonton wrappers against Batali??! You ARE crazy! :-)

    Still, you’ll always win in my book.

  • Adam

    Haha nice post. Mario would never think to use won ton wrappers. You would summon up all your Qi and destroy him.

    Wearing purple clogs might help too.

  • Dhanggit

    that’s why im addicted to your blog.; cause you always succeed in putting smile on my fave and feeding my stomach :-) great post yummy photos

  • Kian

    Which Chinese chef’s did you steal this recipe from? :-)

    That’s exactly how the Chinese make wonton. With shrimp paste!

    Dude, you’re a genius.

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    I didn’t know big bossman also make you have a bedtime hour. Poor Zenderella you!
    Of course yoor the winner for me, I could possibly eat that paste straigh from the food processor! Plus they’re something about Mario (maybe the crocks) that creep me out…

  • Elle


    Zen, how delectable do those look? They make me want to drop everything I’m doing right now (which isn’t much, come to think of it) and make them. Just for me, cuz I’m not sharing!

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    Definitely you!!! Thanks for the quick and delicious recipe!

  • glamah16

    Im swooning. Great idea for wonto wrappers.

  • Chicopea

    What an adorable mean face you have, punk 😉 Did he really hook up with someone there? You had me googling it, I’m pretty gullible.

    I had a really disappointing experience at Carnevino so I’m upset at Mario, I’m sure your ravioli would be the winner :)

  • doggybloggy

    originality 15, taste 15, plating 15 total zenchef 45

    batali …who cares

    and the winner is……

  • farida

    In that batter, you are the winner, that’s for sure:) I love your recipes and no Batalli can compete with you:) Your posts are always soo funny too:)

  • Jenny

    Love this post!
    I love that the ravioli is made from won ton wrappers, I think even I, the simple queen, could handle it! Kind of cool to know someone on the show!

  • Emiline

    I love ravioli! The flavors in this sound amazing.

  • taste memory

    i am bookmarking this post. You did that w.wonton wrappers? I’ve heard of that and never thought too much of it and now am totally totally impressed.

    Great food porn btw w. that slice into the ravioli revealing green ~ luv my veggies…..

  • TavoLini

    yeah, you totally whipped him!

    So, the Spotted Pig, eh? I love delicious gossip heh heh heh

  • cakewardrobe

    Ravioli with wonton wrappers! Definitely adding it to my recipe compilation cause it’s part Asian.. haha

  • Heather

    I haven’t made ravioli yet, and I have a shiny pasta machine just aching to get used! Peas and prawns are a favorite combination of mine, too. Hmm.

  • Cynthia

    I saw this re-run too! I hate it when the difference is just 1 freaking point!

    I love the way your mind works!

  • acey

    iron zen, this looks fabulous. i couls just imagine the scent, the way it would feel in the mouth!!! and the colors are beautiful!!! i bet it tastes better. :)

    ps: forgive my ignorance, but what on earth is a cotechino? is it like a… a ham or sausage?

  • Big Boys Oven

    oh this ravioli looks awesome delicious, melts my mouth already!

  • Helene

    I’m so hungry right now and looking at those ravioli does not help. I really have to try to make these some day. Looks like a lot of work.

  • Tartelette

    Folks: I made this last night and it marriage proposal worthy. Chef? Will you marry me in France?!!

  • Nicole

    Looks amazingly good and fresh. That last shot is perfect.

  • Olga Berman

    ooh, so delicate and pretty!
    on a slightly unrelated note, have people noticed how loud Mario Batali breaths?!

  • AzAzura

    Although I am so in my Miss hyde mode right now , I have to stop by and say that you/yours are the best. We all know this!

  • Ana

    Hi ZenChef,

    Pretty new here, I really like your latest post. I love iron Chef. I don’t have TV no more, so I can’t watch it anymore. :(.
    Hey! Maybe they have it in the net?

    I’ve done the wonton wrapper thing too. I think it’s great. Saves SO much time. And the taste isn’t bad either, just need to make sure to buy the correct type of wonton skin. ;).

    Anyways,hope to see more of your recipes!

    Ana Banana

  • Zen Chef

    Foodhuntress, you borrowed Mario’s trademark look? I’m sure it looks better on you though! haha.

    Manggy, i’m still laughing at that picture. :-)

    Aria, thank you!

    Daphne, thank you too! :-)

    Ann, hehe.. yes i think i am.

    Adam!..Purple crocs.. Great idea!!

    Dhanggit.. awww thank you! :-)

    Kian.. nobody ever called me a genius before.. i’m getting all emotional now! Thanks :-)

    Rita, i ate some straight from the food processor, i did.. hehe

    Elle.. don’t share!! Keep it all for yourself! haha

    Sweet & Saucy.. Thank you!!

    Glamah.. Swoooning!! hehe

    Chicopea.. did you just call me a punk?? hahaha. Oh the gossip, two hints: her initials are CL and she’s quite trashy. Guess?

    Doggybloggy, yea.. i win!! :-)

    Farida, thank you dear! :-)

    Jenny, of course you could handle it!

    Emiline, you would love those!

    Tastememory, yes it’s a great shortcut! Try it and let me know.

    Tavolini, yup juicy gossip straight from the chef underworld. haha.

    Cakewardrobe, i’m part asian too!.. k, just kidding. :-)

    Heather, I bet you would like this then!

    Cynthia, you love my dysfunctional mind? hehe.

    Acey, Cotechino is a really fatty (and delicious) Italian sausage..

    Big Boys.. Thank you!!

    Helene, not really a lot of work if you use wonton wrappers.

    Tartelette. Oui!! hahaha.. Thanks for trying the recipe. Glad you liked it! :-)

    Nicole, thank you!

    Olga, yes i noticed. hehehe

    Azura.. awwww! :-)

    Ana Banana. Welcome around here! :-) I think you can watch some episodes of Iron Chef on YouTube. Who needs a TV anyway? :-)

  • Chicken & Waffles

    That Crocs wearing fellow has nothing on you, Zen. You could bitch slap him while folding gnocchi with one hand.

    I’d actually like to see that. Is there a real smackdown in your future?

  • cakebrain

    Beautiful pics! Hey, that would be neat watching you on Iron Chef…one of my favourite shows! or better yet: why don’t you get your own show on the Food Network? I promise I’ll watch!

  • Lobster Recipe

    The ravioli looks delicious. That episode of iron chef I think had the best sounding/looking dishes I have ever seen on that show. I would kill to have been a judge on that.

  • The Caked Crusader

    ooooh that ravioli looks good! Is it wrong to fancy a bowlful even though it’s 8.04am?

  • Mochachocolata Rita

    the loser is now crying underneath his home kitchen sink…

    (that’s surely not u, zenman, as i can clearly see u tip-toe-ing your way to the fridge for midnite snack ala nigella)

  • Tartelette

    Ok Chef, j’ai mis mon bikini de fete pour te souhaiter un bon 14 juillet! Vive les merguez….!

  • Anali

    The ravioli looks sooooooooooo good!!!

  • White On Rice Couple

    I never leave your blog bored, that’s for sure! You keep me rolling. 😀
    This is too fun, I think I’m gona hold a little Iron Chef cookoff too, but I have to come up with a secret ingredient first!
    This lovely ravioli is satisfying and really beautiful for curing my hot summer weather blues!

  • cakewardrobe

    I always knew you were (my man) part Asian! I’m making this tonight.. I’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out.. hopefully no fires :X

  • Chicopea

    ewww its courtney love! well I’m sure she got a lot of free food, but I wonder what was in it for him. yuck!

  • Katrina

    That looks SO good (and I don’t even like seafood!).
    Love your blog!

  • Anonymous

    I tried your Prawn Ravioli recipe last weekend it was delicious – my wife enjoyed it too… Thanks