This pasta is packed! Seafood lovers will rave about Chef Josh Barber’s Lobster Fra Diavolo. And what wonderful spices! Yum…
1. Pour the tomatoes, with all their juices, into a food processor and pulse until well blended. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the lobster pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently (and adding more oil if needed), until the lobster turns bright red, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add the shallots and garlic to the lobster, and toss with tongs. Add the wine and cognac, and cook over medium heat, turning the lobster carefully with tongs, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper, jalapeño, processed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, 6 tablespoons of the parsley, and the basil and oregano. Simmer (do not boil), stirring occasionally, over medium to medium-low heat until the flavors blend together, 20 minutes.
4. While the mixture is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghettini and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.
5. To serve, make delicate swirls of spaghettini in the center of four shallow pasta bowls. Arrange the lobster tails and claws, with the sauce, on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve the lobster bodies and legs in a separate bowl and let the guests help themselves. Serve immediately, with plenty of napkins.
If you’re not boiling lobsters, either have your fishmonger cut them up and crack the claws for you, or prepare them in a humane way:
Plunge the tip of a sharp knife about 1 1/2 inches down from the eyes into the center of the head. That quickly kills it.
To section it for Fra Diavolo, separate the head and body (top) portion from the tail. Cut the tail in half lengthwise and remove the intestine.
Split each half in half crosswise so that you have 4 tail pieces. Now remove the knuckles and claws from the top portion.
Cut the knuckles from the claws for 4 more lobster pieces. Since the head of the lobster isn’t used in this recipe, either discard the pieces or clean them out, removing the head sac, the tomalley, and roe, if any.
Rinse the shells, dry them, wrap them well, and freeze them for fish stock. They will keep for up to 1 month in the freezer.
- 5 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more if needed
- 3 fresh lobsters (each 1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 8 pieces (see Note)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large shallots, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh red jalapeño or serrano chile, with seeds and ribs; or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 12 ounces spaghettini