Mar 9, 2020

Lobster Fra Diavlo

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
In this recipe tender lobster meat is tossed with a spicy arrabbiata pasta sauce. The tomato-based sauce is laced with sautéed fennel, carrots and plenty of red pepper flakes - enough to make you sweat (for a milder sauce use only 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes).

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Lobster Fra Diavlo

In this recipe tender lobster meat is tossed with a spicy arrabbiata pasta sauce. The tomato-based sauce is laced with sautéed fennel, carrots and plenty of red pepper flakes – enough to make you sweat (for a milder sauce use only 1 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes).

I serve the spicy seafood sauce over mafalde – a long noodle pasta shape with ruffled edges. I like it not only because it’s fun, but it also holds the sauce in the edges.

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I use whole live lobsters that I then cut in half lengthwise. Cutting them is an unpleasant affair, but it is over quickly, and the halved lobsters make for an impressive presentation.

While I like using whole lobsters, if you can’t find them for this recipe, substitute six to eight lobster tails, one pound of cooked lobster meat or even shrimp instead.

If using fresh lobsters, buy them as close to the time you plan on cooking them as possible. They can be purchased a day beforehand and kept in the refrigerator, wrapped in damp paper towels or newspaper to ensure they remain alive until just before cooking.

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Lobster Fra Diavlo

shell on lobster with mafalde pasta noodles in red tomato sauce on a white platter with a white and blue stripe towel
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 1½-pound Maine lobsters
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, diced (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • cups dry white wine
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon diced tarragon
  • 1 pound dried mafalde pasta (if you can’t find, substitute with spaghetti)

Instructions:

  • Working one lobster at a time, place on cutting board, belly side down with the head facing you. Insert a chef’s knife where the tail meets the head and quickly bisect the head lengthwise, this will quickly and easily kill the lobster. Use a cleaver or chef’s knife to cut the whole lobster lengthwise.
  • Heat a large 7-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat through. Working 1 lobster at a time, sear the lobster halves until the shells are bright red and the meat is cooked through, flipping once, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lobsters and set aside to cool, repeating with the remaining lobsters. Remove the meat from the tail and body of the lobsters and roughly chop, setting aside in a small bowl. Reserve the lobster halves for serving, and use a cleaver to crack the claws for serving.
  • Return the large Dutch oven to medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt then add the shallots, fennel and carrot and sauté until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant then stir in the red pepper flakes followed by the white wine. Simmer the wine until the vegetables are almost dry, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes. Cook, simmering until the sauce comes together, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tarragon and cooked lobster meat.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, tossing to combine. Divide among warmed serving bowls and arrange the reserved shells with cracked claws on the side of the bowl. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.

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