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Spaghetti with Lobster and Spicy Tomato Sauce

This is an adaptation of a recipe by Marcella Hazan in her cookbook Marcella Cucina.

Spaghetti with lobster and spicy tomato sauce
Spaghetti with lobster and spicy tomato sauce

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Marcella’s recipe, “Lobster Pasta Sauce, Busara Style” instructs her readers to use a live lobster in the preparation of this dish. Now, I’m a little squeamish when it comes to killing a live lobster. I also don’t quite have the necessary knife skills. I had the fishmonger at Citarella do it for me. A neat little compromise, wouldn’t you agree?

1 1/4 lb. lobster
1 can crushed tomatoes
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
a scant pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
a generous handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
thin spaghetti

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Drop in the lobster. Cook for 10 minutes. Plunge lobster into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain after a couple of minutes. Let the lobster rest for about 5 minutes to allow the meat to absorb some of the moisture in the shell.

Twist the tail away from the head and twist off the claws. Crack the claws with the blunt back of a heavy knife. I used a rolling pin — necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. Remove the meat from the claws and set aside in a bowl. With a pair of kitchen shears, make a cut down the soft, translucent shell on the underside of the tail. Grasp both sides of the tail and bend them back, splitting open the shell along the cut. You’ll probably want to use a heavy towel to protect your hands as you perform this step. Pull out the lobster meat and place in the same bowl as the claw meat. You can also cut the tail in two lengthwise to remove the meat. If the lobster has any roe, scoop it out and use to make lobster butter or reserve for another use. Remove the tomalley for use in the sauce.

Gently warm about six tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion along with a generous pinch of salt, and cook until onion becomes a pale gold, stirring occasionally. It’s difficult to give a time estimation as all stoves are different. Add the garlic and cook until garlic takes on a little color. It’ll be a very slight change as the cloves go from pale white to a pale gold. You’ll know it’s at the right stage when the garlic begins to give off a pleasant aroma. At this point, add the crushed tomatoes, the red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of salt. Stir once or twice, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and let simmer.

Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Plan for 1/4 lb. of spaghetti per serving. Cook spaghetti, then drain.

When pasta is done, add reserved lobster meat and tomalley to the tomato sauce. Warm lobster through, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in a generous handful of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Top each serving of spaghetti with sauce, then serve immediately.

Tomato sauce can be made up to a day in advance. If you elect to go this route, cook the lobster prior to reheating the sauce. Prepare lobster as instructed above. Warm tomato sauce until it’s re-heated thoroughly, then proceed as normal.

Time: 1 hour, including prep.

This is my submission for Presto Pasta Night #212, a weekly food-blogging event and organized by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

6 replies »

  1. What a glorious idea! And since lobster is my favorite … not to mention that I live in Nova Scotia with lots of lobsters! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night.


  2. I’ve only cooked a live lobster once feeling just as squeamish as you mentioned. But it was worth it. Tasty morsel just like your pasta. Haven’t tried this particular flavor combo but know we’d love it.


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