This marks my second lobster recipe in a row, although I was surprised it wasn’t more, considering that it’s lobster-season and I’ve been practically swallowing them whole for a few weeks now. I could Benjamin Buford Blue you (lobster salad, lobster tacos, lobster lasagna, lobster risotto, lobster fritters, lobster cerviche, etc….), but suffice to say I’ve been experimenting with these sea-bugs and have loved every bite. Today’s offering is a delicious pasta dish, made with hand-crafted and cut spinach noodles, a garlic and parmigiano infused cream, and succulent, tender, juicy, sweet lobster meat.
Hand-cut Pappardelle with Garlic Cream and Lobster
2 1lb fresh, live lobsters
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
3 sheets hand-rolled, fresh spinach pasta
sea salt, cracked black pepper, snipped chives for garnish
Tough lobster is shameful, and adding lobster meat to a pasta can over-cook it lickety split, so one must par-cook fresh lobsters to get properly prepared meat for any dish that requires further cooking it in a sauce or something. I’ve par-cooked lobsters a few times before, but here’s the skinny: throw your alive and kicking lobsters in a large, empty pot, and bring a gallon or so of water with some vinegar to a heady boil. Pour the boiled water over the lobsters, comfort them with words of sympathy until they stop moving (read: die), and let them soak for about 5 minutes. (For another, more detailed description, check out one of my past postings.) Remove the lobsters from the water, then cut the meat out of the tail, claws, and knuckles while they’re still hot.
Viola! Perfectly par-boiled lobster meat. I leave the knuckle meat and claws whole, and I split the tail right up the middle (removing the vein). I put this in the fridge to chill down and stop cooking.
Living in Boston means shopping for fine groceries in the North End, and I ain’t one to fly in the face of that sort of foodie imperative. The sheer multitude of fine Italian restaurants and shops is dizzying, although until relatively recently there were no real fresh pasta makers selling to the retail market. Enter DePasquale’s Handmade Pasta, a perfect little shop right on Congress Street – facing the Haymarket through the Rose Kennedy Parkway – that sells fine cheeses, charcuterie, some imported grocery items and, of course, their own pasta. I was in the mood for a lasagna the other day, and although the pictures didn’t turn out as good as the meal did (which is why I didn’t post it), I had several sheets of their absolutely delicious spinach pasta left, which I decided to cut into thick strips, called pappardelle – AKA wide fettucini noodles.
This is a pretty simple recipe: what keeps it from being a Weeknight Wondermeal is that most people can’t get their hands on lobster and fresh pasta as easily as we city-dwellers can. But, as you can see from the list of ingredients, it’s not too complicated. The sauce starts easily: 2 or 3 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic (do *not* use that crap suspended in oil purchased at the grocery store – it’s horrible!) and lotsa butter.
Finally, I add my lobster meat and most of my fresh grated cheese (which I forgot to take a picture of), stirring everything together well until the sauce thickens and the lobster is fully cooked and heated through.
Earlier, I brought my pasta to a boil for 3 minutes in a large pot of salted water. After the lobster is heated through, I pick it out of the sauce and set it aside, keeping it warm, so I can toss my cooked and drained pappardelle in the cream sauce. (If I leave the lobster in, it will all sink to the bottom when I try to plate my dish…)
Succulent, buttery, delicate and sweet lobster meat atop a steaming platter of perfectly al dente spinach pasta doused in a rich, flavorful, creamy cheese sauce. A sprinkle of parmigiano, chives, salt and pepper round out the dish, and a glass of crisp white wine completes the meal. O, if only lobster season was year ’round! Thank God it’s not, or else my perpetually-6-months-pregnant profile would probably make it to full term.