Pappardelle with Lobster, Leeks and White Truffle Oil

Summer in Maine often means lobster, and lobster we have. This recipe calls for making a lobster stock with the bodies and shells of the lobsters after the meat has been removed. The stock is then reduced with cream to make a rich sauce, which should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready to be tossed with the pasta.

Pappardelle is a broad fettuccine and if you can’t find it is easily substituted with another broad, flat pasta.

4 live lobsters, each about 1 1/4 lb.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and green portions separated
2 large carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
10 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons white truffle oil

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a large bowl filled with ice water and let cool completely. Separate the claws and tails from the bodies. Remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails and cut the tail meat in half lengthwise. Reserve the shells and bodies and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.

To make the lobster stock, using a chef’s knife, cut the lobster bodies in half lengthwise. In a large saucepan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the lobster bodies, cut sides down, along with the shells, and cook without stirring until golden underneath, 4 to 5 minutes. Chop the green part of the leeks and add to the pan along with the carrots, celery, bay leaf and 2 quarts cold water or enough to cover. Lay the parsley sprigs on top, bring to a simmer and immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the stock is golden and flavorful, about 2 hours.

Julienne the white part of the leeks, then rinse and drain well. In another large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the lobster stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and add to the pan with the leeks. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds (about 3 cups), 35 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).

Add the lobster meat to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix and cook until the lobster is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoons of the truffle oil. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, add the sauce and stir gently to mix. Divide the pasta among warmed individual bowls. Garnish with the chopped parsley and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoons truffle oil.

Serves 4

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