Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has started off quietly, which is appropriate considering how I said goodbye to 2016.
My brother married his perfect person on Monday night, New Years Eve. It was a sweet and moving ceremony followed by a really, really fun party. I fully intend to post more about this happy occasion, complete with a video of my Dad’s father-of-the-groom toast at the rehearsal dinner, which was anything but traditional. Interest peaked yet? Good.
But for now I’d just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and celebrate you with a dish worthy of Lucky 13. Lobster!
K and I recently spent a weekend in Kennebunk, Maine. Maine is one of my favorite places and it was the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend. It was a little rainy, and I had just finished a very big week at work, and we were both content to stay in, cook, play trivial pursuit, and rest. One of the nights we were there, we picked up some cooked lobsters, as I had never actually eaten a whole lobster in the shell. Being as we were in Maine, the price was more than fair, so we picked up extra in anticipation of leftovers.
Round One consisted of proper lobster eating. We cracked them open, dipped them in clarified butter, and snacked on potato chips. I finally get what all the fuss is about–real, fresh Maine lobster is quite good. Round two, the extra lobster meat found itself tucked into a spicy tomato sauce, which was equally delicious.
Let’s make Fra Diavolo!
Start with the lobster meat from 2 lobsters. I don’t have a clue about lobster weight, but they looked like this:
And had about this much meat inside:
I chopped up the tail meat into large bite-size pieces, and left the claws in tact because they’re pretty. No need to cook the meat further, you’ll just reheat it in the spicy sauce. For the sauce, start with some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop up an onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Then add minced garlic and about half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. You can add more or less, depending on your tolerance of heat. Let that cook for about a minute more, then add a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste.
Stir that around and cook until the tomato paste starts to caramelize. Then add a can of whole San Marzano Tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them into the skillet.
Season with salt and cracked black pepper, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your favorite long pasta, I used linguine, according to package directions.
When the pasta has about 2 minutes to go, add the lobster meat to the sauce and stir to combine. You just want to slowly heat it through, not cook it further. You also may be interested in power pressure cooker reviews 2017
When the pasta is finished, reserve a little cooking water then drain. Return to the pot and add the lobster tomato sauce then toss to combine. Add a little of the cooking water to thin it out if needed. I did.
Will you look at that claw? Aren’t you glad you kept them in tact?
Serve on plates or in bowls with a little grated cheese on top. I know that conventional wisdom says no cheese with seafood, but to them I say, “What about Lobster Mac and Cheese?” Which is another dish I have never had, and my instinct says that lobster is good, and mac and cheese is good, but I don’t know if they need to be good together. Anyway! I put parmesan on pasta, it’s just what I do. But if you’re cheese-averse, you could toast up some garlicky bread crumbs for a little added bite.
This is a wonderful vehicle to enjoy lobster. The spicy, silky tomato sauce just barely coats the pasta, while leaving sweet chunks of flavorful tomatoes throughout. The lobster meat is sweet and firm and is a great contrast to the spicy sauce.
In addition to being delicious, in true Two Recipes form, it’s also very simple to make. I got over-confident and said that I could pull it off, from start to finish, in 20 minutes, a challenge which K accepted. I cooked this Iron-Chef-Style, and if I were in that show, I would have had to serve crunchy pasta. But that’s just because my water wouldn’t boil! I still think I could get there. However, the final time was 28 minutes, so it’s still an easy dinner that doesn’t skimp on taste.
If lobster isn’t a part of your weeknight repertoire, I’m with you. While it is delicious and decadent and luxurious, you could certainly replace it with shrimp and call it Shrimp Fra Diavolo. I won’t tell.
But if you can, find some lobster. Just look at that beautiful meat.
Happy New Year friends. I’ll be back soon with my yearly resolutions/goals and a recap of how I did with last years! I hope your Holiday Season was divine.
Here’s the recipe!
Lobster Fra Diavolo
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 pound linguine, or other long pasta
- Lobster meat, from 2 medium sized lobsters, shelled; tails chopped into bite size pieces
- Grated Parmesan for serving
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add chopped onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until tomato paste darkens and caramelizes.
- Add canned tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes by hand as you add them and their juices to the skillet. Stir to combine, then season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- When the pasta has about 2 minutes left to cook, add lobster meat and stir to heat through. After pasta is drained, add the sauce to the pot and toss to combine. Thin with reserved pasta water if needed.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top, or make some toasted breadcrumbs for crunch.