A shellebration this Christmas

A shellebration this Christmas

Lobster, tomato, basil

It's a shellebration! My long promised lobster pasta recipe is here, just in time for Christmas. Don't let live lobster's ignite fear, we put them into a gentle sleep so they don't feel a thing. It's the best way to celebrate this beautiful crustacean.

Serves 2-3

  • 1 live lobster (800g-1kg)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 300-350 g of cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 125 ml of dry white wine 
  • 2 tbs concentrated tomato paste (mutti brand is the best) – I like to add this when I’m cooking tomatoes in winter for that added boost of flavour. 
  • ½ cup of lobster stock (we will make this)
  • Basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 lemon – zest and squeeze

For lobster stock 

  • 1 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 100 ml dry white wine 
  • ½ tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
  • Lemon peel 
  • Salt and pepper


Spaghetti, tagliolini or linguine

Put our little friend in freezer for 15 - 30 minutes to gently put him to sleep. I recommend then watching this video to calm your nerves. Pour a glass of wine. You’ve got this. 

If you’re making fresh pasta, make your pasta dough now. Wrap and leave to rest whilst we get on with the kill. Take a big gulp of wine. 

The best, most humane way to kill the lobster is by inserting a sharp knife into the head behind the eyes and cutting straight down, between the eyes, so the head is spilt completely in half. A word of warning – the lobster might jump around a bit, even after the head has been spilt. George Locatelli promises “it’s only a reflex, I promise you there is no life left in the lobster”. 

Cut head off and keep aside for stock. We will cook the rest of the body in the pasta sauce so cover and keep in fridge whilst we make stock. 

To make the lobster stock. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, along with the carrot, celery and onion, and cook for 5 minutes or until starting to soften – not colour. Add lobster head. With a wooden spoon, crush the head a little bit to release juices and draw out flavour. Add your wine and leave to bubble and boil for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. Add a little water, almost enough to cover, but not quite and one peel from a lemon.  Bring to the boil, then turn down heat and leave to simmer away for 15 minutes. Strain stock into a jug, discarding the lobster head and vegetables.  This is now your lovely, flavour-packed stock that’s ready to boost your sauce. We won’t be using all of it so freeze the left-over stock to add a flavour punch to your next seafood pasta sauce. 

Now let’s roll out our pasta – I’m suggesting we go for tagliolini or linguine. If you’re using dried pasta, you can move onto the sauce.

To prepare the rest of the lobster, using a sharp knife (or kitchen scissors), take the tail of the lobster and spilt in half through the shell. Cut each half into pieces, say about 2 cm wide, leave the shell on.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a lively boil and season as salty as the sea. If you’re using dried pasta. Cook now. If you’re using fresh, hold on as this only takes 1 to 2 minutes to cook. 

Now sauce time, place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add your olive oil, garlic and chilli and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Throw in tomatoes, season, and toss around. Cook for 5 minutes or so until tomatoes collapse and start to release their juice. Deglaze pan with wine. Let it bubble away for a few minutes to evaporate before adding ½ cup of lobster stock, tomato paste and some basil leaves. Season. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste. Need anything else? Remembering we have some acid coming with the lemon. If you’re happy, add lobster and toss around sauce for 30 seconds. Turn off heat.

Now add your pasta to your lively pot of water and cook until molto al dente (so I’d say 1-2 mins) as we want to finish it off in our sauce. 

Fling your pasta directly into the pan along with a knob of butter, zest of lemon and a spritz of juice. Toss around for a good minute to get everything working together to create a unified dish. The starch from the precious cooking water will help thicken the sauce. If it’s looking like it needs more loosening up, you can add a splash more of your stock. 

Serve on a big plate, sprinkle with basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy. Well done, we did it. 

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