A Lobster Pasta Conconction

Mario Batali's Fettuccine With Lobster, Tomatoes, And Saffron: I was perusing a cookbook from ABC’s “The Chew” and ran across a recipe that I apparently overlooked for the two-plus years I’ve owned the book.  It sounded so good I decided to splurge and try it:   fettuccine with lobster, tomato and saffron.

I never cook with lobster.  I think I’ve bought one fresh lobster in the grocery store in my entire life.  But, it sounded so good I had to give it a shot.  I decided to go for it, and when I got to Harris Teeter much to my surprise lobsters were on sale for $7.99 a pound (instead of their regular $14.99 a pound).  I felt a LOT better about making it after I saw that two 1.25 pound lobsters totaled about $45 before the discount was applied.

The recipe calls for potatoes in it, and I just couldn’t figure out why anyone would eat potatoes with pasta.  Can we say carbohydrate overload?  So, I left out the potatoes.  I also found that the recipe called for no seasoning, and left much to be desired in terms of taste as a result.  I had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper to make it sing.

Mine didn’t look like the one in the picture because I used the substitution of one can of San Marzano tomatoes, and I wasn’t sure how to include those, so I pureed them and it made a rich red tomato sauce.  My son had seconds and everyone loved it so I’m sticking with that approach.

Here, for your dining pleasure, is my version of this recipe, scaled down for three people with enough leftovers for one or two more servings:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1-to-1.25 pound lobsters, steamed (have the fish monger do this) and cooled
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/8″ julienne
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 15 ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 2 T. salt.
  • Remove the lobster meat from the shells and cut into 1/2″ pieces.
  • In a large saute’ pan, heat the olive oil until smoking.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute’ until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine and saffron and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water and cook to 1 minute less than package instructions.  Just before it’s done, carefully ladle 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the pan with the sauce.
  • Add the lobster to the tomato sauce in the pan and toss through.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (this step is really important!)  IF you like spicy food, add 1/2 t. or more of crushed red pepper to the sauce and simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the pan with the sauce.  Add the chives and toss to combine thoroughly.
  • Serve in pasta bowls.

Sexy Chicken Revisited: Try it Today!

sexychicken-736508Almost a year ago I wrote about a recipe I affectionately call “Sexy Chicken.”  It’s a Mario Batali recipe and I simply love it.  Everyone I’ve served it to loves it, too, and raves about how flavorful it is.   You can view it by clicking here.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a GREAT Sunday dinner dish and very easy to make.  I just wanted to follow up with a few additional pointers.

I made it last night and used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and it was FAR better than when I’ve made it using the boneless skinless thighs.  My son commented on how good it was.  The chicken skin and bone add a depth of flavor you’re just not going to get with boneless chicken filets.

The recipe in the Chew’s cookbook calls for “yellow” onions.  I have made it with those, and I have made it with Vidalia sweet onions.  Both varieties are delicious, so use what you have.  I just would not recommend using red onions, as those are very strong and will also turn your dish sort of a putrid purple color.

I couldn’t find any pomegranate seeds in my grocery store, since those fruits are out of season.  I substituted pomegranate infused dried cranberries and it was good!  Not as good as fresh pom seeds but still gave it that little sweet blast of flavor that makes this dish so delicious.

I recommend serving it with a nice fluffy rice.  Trader Joe’s has a brown rice medley that contains brown rice, black rice, and radish seeds.  I made that with chicken stock instead of plain water and salted it liberally.  It was a nice combination with the savory chicken.

Finally, if you’re looking for saffron, I suggest Amazon.  They have a 5 gram container for about $30, and that’s a LOT of saffron.  It’s much cheaper to buy it that way than it is to buy it in the grocery store.  Trader Joe’s also has saffron at a reasonable price.  Do NOT try to make this dish without saffron!  I know it’s expensive but a little goes a long way and it has a unique flavor that you’re going to want.

Now get in that kitchen and make some sexy chicken!

 

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