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.

Cauliflower, Part Deux (a.k.a. STOP IT)

Awhile back I wrote about cauliflower and how people are finding new uses for it.  They’re trying to turn it into food that someone might want to eat.  I’ve noticed that lately pinterest is just brimming with dozens of new and gastrically offensive ideas for this so-called wonder food.  I couldn’t resist sharing a few of them with you.  (My comments are noted below each of these delightful photographs.)

DISCLAIMER:  I am not responsible for any vomiting that results from reading this post.

Alfredo sauce is made with butter, olive oil, and cream.  It is not made with cauliflower.  I'm pretty sure any self-respecting Italian person would put a contract out on your life for screwing up a perfectly good sauce like this.

Listen, Chef Boyardee, Alfredo sauce is made with butter, olive oil, and cream. Those things taste nothing like cauliflower, and vice-versa. It does look like it could be a suitable substitute for wallpaper paste, though.

Tortillas are made with flour or cornmeal.  They are not, under any circumstances, made with cauliflower.

Tortillas are made with flour or cornmeal by sweet little Mexican people who have done nothing wrong. Why must you offend them so?

No.  For it to be pasta, you have to put PASTA in the dish.  (Okay, so this one isn't cauliflower, it's made with zucchini, but what kind of childhood trauma causes people to screw up perfectly good things like a pasta dish by leaving out the main ingredient????

No. For it to be pasta, you have to put PASTA in the dish. Okay, so this one isn’t cauliflower, it’s made with zucchini, but what kind of childhood trauma causes people to screw up perfectly good things like a pasta dish by leaving out the main ingredient????

This is nothing more than pure gastric fuckery. What did pepperoni ever do to you that you feel the need to punish it so with this kind of preparation?

 

Cauliflower chopped up into little rice-sized pieces is NOT.  RICE.  How dare you.

You have just insulted 2 billion people in China.

stopit6

It’s not POTATO salad if there are no potatoes in it. The people of Idaho should put a contract out on the life of whoever dared to suggest this. For the love of all that is good and decent in the culinary world, STOP IT. STOP. IT. NOW!!!

 

Pastas: Yeah, There Is a Difference

Pasta-is-back_landingpage-heroI have tried to figure out how you could screw up manufacturing pasta.  I mean seriously, it’s flour, it’s water, maybe a little egg…?  So any store brand should do, right?  Having purchased pasta from New York’s Eataly market, I have to say, “Ummmm….no.”

Eataly is most-notable for its celebrity ownership.  Two of its owners include Chef Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich from “MasterChef.”  It is the ultimate italian gourmet market featuring any and every kind of gourmet ingredient you can think of:  pastas, olives, produce, meat, and even luxurious fresh truffles (today’s price for white truffles is a mere $168 an ounce. How many would you like?!?).  If you are ever in the Big Apple, I highly recommend an excursion to Eataly.  You can have a fabulous meal, a great glass of wine, and make an afternoon of it.

When we went to Eataly we dined in the store at one of their restaurants (which was freaking fabulous, by the way), then browsed around and looked at all the offerings.  I got so overwhelmed I left without buying a single thing!  I promised myself I would go home and order some things from them, and I did.  I was not disappointed!

The selection of oils and vinegars is worthy of an article all its own, but today I’m just focusing on the dried pastas they offer.   If you’re going to shop here you have to accept the fact that the prices are going to be higher than what you’re used to paying at the grocery store.  If you shop in a regular grocery store, you’re used to getting dried pasta for as little as .99 cents a pound.  At Eataly you’re looking at imported brands that start at over $3 a pound, and some go on up into the $10-$12 range.  (They even have a truffle pasta that is about $27 for an 8 ounce package.  No, I haven’t tried it).

Is there really a difference in pastas?  Yeppers, I’m afraid there is.

I’ve tried some of their pastas and they are absolutely delicious.  I’m not trying to dog Mueller’s or Barilla but seriously, their stuff tastes like processed cardboard alongside one of the pricier offerings from Eataly.

I always choose something that’s actually made in Italy, and there is a difference.  I’m sure it has to do with the type of flour used, along with the manufacturing process.  I don’t really need to know the why, though.  The pasta takes longer to cook, it has a fresher flavor, and it’s got a different mouth feel than any of the standard store brands I’ve bought in the past.

No, I have not turned into a food snob who likes to mail order my pasta.  What I have turned into is a 46 year old woman who doesn’t get to eat nearly as many carbs as she’d like to.  When carbs are consumed, I want them to be absolutely perfect.

My teenager eats whatever is there, so yes, I still buy the cheap stuff at the store and keep it in the house. But, when I’m putting in an Eataly order (it’s where I get my olive oils and vinegars), I always throw in a few packages of pasta just to have on hand for special occasions (such as the days I treat myself to the carbs of pasta!)

The next time you need a good bottle of olive oil for your pantry, I’d suggest giving Eataly a try.  They offer free shipping on minimum-sized orders, and there’s all kinds of goodies to choose from.  Hey…you can even pick up a few ounces of truffles if you are so inclined.