November 2021

Lobster Fra Diavolo with Linguine

Serves 4 to 6


For the Diavola Sauce
makes 6 1/2 cups

1/2 cup olive oil
14 cloves garlic, 10 cloves left whole and 4 cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp crushed Calabrian chiles
2 tsp dried red chile flakes
1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 28 oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
salt to taste

For the Lobster Brodo
4 1/4 or 1 1/2 pound lobsters
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns

To Finish
1 pound of linguine
2 cups diavola sauce
1 to 1/2 cups lobster brodo
2 tbsp crushed Calabrian chiles
dried chile flakes to taste


To make the diavola sauce, place a large, heavy sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and whole garlic cloves and cook slowly until the garlic is light golden brown, caramelized, and soft enough to mash, 7 to 10 minutes. Gently mash garlic in the pot with a fork or back of spoon. Add the sliced garlic to the pot, decrease the heat to low, and cook gently until aromatic but without color, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to turn a deeper red and is well combined with the oil and garlic, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Calabrian chiles, chile flakes, and fennel seed, then add the tomatoes and their juice, stir to incorporate all of the ingredients, and cook until the flavors have blended, 30 to 45 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Set aside until ready to use. (Refrigerate for 5 days; freeze for up until 1 month).

To cook the lobsters, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Generously salt the water. Prepare a large ice-water bath. Working with one lobster at a time, remove the body from the tail by twisting them in opposite directions. Reserve the body and the tail separately. Clean and discard any impurities from from the body and set aside. Repeat with the remaining lobsters. Remove the claws and set aside. Place the claws in the boiling water and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, add the tails and reset the timer for 3 minutes. After the second 3 minutes, the lobsters will be parcooked, which means they won't overcook when you put them in the sauce later. Using tongs, remove the lobsters from the boiling water and place in the ice bath to stop the cooking and to cool. Once cool to the touch, remove the lobsters from the ice-water bath and place on a sheet pan or in a large bowl. For the tails, place one tail on its side on a kitchen towel and wrap the towel around it. Press down firmly until you hear the shell crack. Remove from the towel and, using scissors, cut down the inner spine. Pull the shell off and set aside the meat and shell separately. Repeat with the remaining tails. For the claws, place one claw on the kitchen towel and wrap the towel around it. Using the back of a heavy chef's knife, bang the claw until you hear a crack. Turn the claw over and bang it again. You should be able to remove the shell and keep the claw meat in a single piece. Remove the cartilage from the center of the claw. Repeat with the remaining claws and reserve the meat and shells separately. For the knuckles, use scissors to cut down each side and separate the meat from the shell. Reserve the meat and shells separately. Cut the meat from the lobster tails, claws and knuckles into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.

To make the brodo, place a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the oil, garlic, fennel, celery, and carrot and gently cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the reserved lobster shells and lobster bodies, then add cold water to reach just below the top of the shells. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn down the heat to low and simmer gently, skimming impurities as it cooks, until you have and aromatic and flavorful brodo, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the brodo through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Measure 1 cup plus 7 tbsp brodo and set aside. Transfer the remainder to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.

To finish, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Generously salt the water. Add the linguine to the water and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the lobster brodo and bring to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the diavola sauce and Calabrian chiles and season with chile flakes to taste. Add the lobster meat. Using tongs or a pasta basket, remove the pasta from the pot and transfer to the sauté pan. Turn the heat up to medium. Add 1 to 2 ladles pasta cooking water. Toss for 1 to 2 minutes to marry the pasta and the sauce. If the sauce begins to tighten, add a splash of pasting cooking water or brodo to loosen and continue tossing to marry. Divide the pasta into bowls and garnish with chile flakes to taste.

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