One of my favorite foods to cook on a charcoal grill is a lobster tail. Although it is not much of a recipe, I should photograph it so I can blog about it. If you start with whole live lobsters, using just the tail to grill means you will have the claws and shells as ‘leftovers’. They are excellent to make a delicious fresh pasta with lobster ragù, using the meat from the claws and legs, as well as a bisque made from the shells to flavor the ragù. Because of the delicate flavor of lobster it is best to use fresh tomatoes for this rather than canned or passata from a bottle or jar. I don’t think fresh pasta is ‘better’ than dry pasta in general, but in this dish using fresh pasta really makes a difference. This is one of those dishes that requires only a few ingredients but quite a bit of effort, which is definitely worth it. The effort can be reduced by using store-bought dried or fresh pasta rather than making your own.
For 4 servings
2 lobsters without the tail meat (used for another purpose) of about 700 grams (1.5 lbs) each
500 grams (1.1 lbs) ripe plum tomatoes
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced into thin strips (chiffonade)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the bisque: 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 celery stalk
Fresh pasta made using 3 eggs and about 300 grams (2 cups) Italian 00 flour, or a mix of 00 flour and semola di grano duro rimacinata (if using store bought, this will yield about 450 grams (1 lb) of fresh pasta)
If starting with live lobsters, boil them for 1 minute, then remove the tail (to use for another recipe), then boil the rest of the lobster for about 7 more minutes. Allow the lobsters to cool down quickly in cold water with ice cubes.
Take the lobster meat out of the claws and legs (more information about this procedure this post), and put the shells in a stockpot. Make sure to remove the gills, which produce a bitter taste.
Chop the onion, carrot, and celery, and add to the stock pot with the lobster shells. Barely cover with water, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer as soon as the water has come to a boil, and then allow to simmer for 1 hour.
In the meantime, chop the lobster meat, and store in the refrigerator.
Turn the tomatoes into concassé as described in this post.
Concassé is French for skinned, seeded, and chopped.
Make fresh pasta dough, wrap in cling film, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
After 1 hour of simmering, strain the lobster stock. First with a colander to remove the large solids…
…and then with a fine sieve.
Pour the filtered lobster stock into a wide low pan, and bring to a boil.
As soon as it has come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer the lobster stock until it has been reduced to about 4-6 tablespoons. The reduced lobster stock is called bisque (although bisque is usually enriched and diluted with cream if it is served by itself).
Transfer the lobster bisque into a small bowl and reserve.
After the pasta dough has rested, roll it out, and cut it into fettuccine. If you dust the sheets of pasta with flour before cutting the fettuccine, it will be easier to prevent them from sticking together.
Allow the fettuccine to dry somewhat in a more or less single layer, lying straight. If the layer is too thick, they might get stuck together.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, and stir over medium heat until the garlic just starts to turn yellow. Do not allow the garlic to become golden or brown to avoid a bitter flavor.
Deglaze with white wine before the garlic becomes too dark.
Allow the wine to be reduced by half to remove the alcohol.
Then add the tomatoes, and stir for a minute over high heat.
Then add the lobster bisque.
Allow the sauce to simmer until it has the desired consistency.
The dish can be prepared in advance up to this point. To continue finishing the dish from this point, heat the sauce back up until it boils, then reduce to a simmer.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water boils, add salt and the pasta. The pasta cooking time will depend on how thick you made the fettuccine, so it is best to taste the fettuccine to find out when they are done. Very thin ones are done in 1-2 minutes, but regular thickness will need 6-8 minutes.
Add the lobster meat to the tomato sauce.
Stir, then turn off the heat. The lobster is already cooked and will warm up in the heat of the sauce. Do not boil the sauce with the lobster in it, because that would dry out the lobster.
Taste the sauce, and only salt if needed. Usually the bisque provides sufficient saltiness.
When the fettuccine are al dente, drain them, and add them to the sauce, together with the basil.
Toss the pasta with the sauce.
Serve at once on preheated plates.
Such an elegant and complex dish requires an elegant and complex wine, such as a Chardonnay from the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy. Great examples are Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Saint-Aubin, or Meursault.
This walnut and pear cake is very flavorful and moist.