July 7, 2016

Spaghetti with Lobster

When we ate at Joe Beef in Montreal earlier this year, one of the best dishes we tried was the Spaghetti Homard-Lobster (pictured above). In their cookbook, the Joe Beef guys explain, "We take this name from an old Iron Chef episode when the host declared 'Battle Homard Lobster!' Yes, homard and lobster mean the same thing (like 'minestrone soup'). Among other things that don't make any sense: this is probably the most popular Joe Beef dish."

I'd been ogling the recipe before our trip and was excited to try it. However, by the time the TWO pasta dishes arrived--after FIVE other courses--we were so full that we could only take a few bites. Almost immediately, we talked about recreating the dish at home.

That finally happened last week.

I used 3 medium-sized lobster tails instead of a live lobster. I cooked the tails, pulled the meat out, then used the shells to make the sauce in the same water that I boiled them in. I think I used too much cream, though, as my dish was a bit too saucy. No worries, though, because it was still pretty delicious. And I kept the extra sauce to eat with more pasta later.

Spaghetti with Lobster
recipe from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef

serves 2

8 quarts plus 2 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 live lobster, weighing about 2½ pounds
2 portions spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brandy
1 sprig tarragon
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 slices slab bacon, cut into matchsticks and crisped in a pan
Fresh parsley, julienned, for garnish

  • Start by dividing the 8 quarts water evenly between 2 pots. Add 2 tablespoons salt to each pot, and bring both pots to a rolling boil. (One is for the lobster, and the other one is for the spaghetti.) Lobsters live in the sea, and the best lobster you’ll ever eat will be when you are on a ship or near the shore and the lobster is boiled in seawater. So, before you add the lobster, salt the water. When it is as salty as the sea, slide in the live lobster. You need to cook a lobster for about 5 minutes for each pound, which is about 12 minutes for this lobster. If you don’t want to look at the live lobster as it boils, you are probably someone who likes to have sex with the light off. That’s okay.
  • Measure the spaghetti. To do that, make the size of a quarter with your thumb and index finger; 1 portion of pasta is what fits into that “hole.” Measure 2 portions and add them to the second pot of boiling water. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. We don’t make our own spaghetti, so we don’t expect you to, either. Drain it, then disregard the “canons of pasta” and go ahead and rinse it under cold running water. Toss it with the olive oil so it doesn’t stick together and keep it at room temperature nearby. (Kelly's note: I didn't find that this amount of pasta was quite enough as a dinner portion and ended up making more.)
  • The lobster will be cooked by now. With your trusty long tongs, take it out of the water and put it in a bowl. Let it cool down until you can touch it with your hands, then remove the claws and the knuckles. Crack the claws with a knife or with a cracker, whichever you feel most comfortable using. Take the tail off the torso and crack it in two. Everything is still in the shell, and you want to leave it like that. Put the claws, knuckles and tail pieces in a bowl and put the bowl aside.
  • Now you will be left with the torso. Hack it into 4 or 5 rough chunks with a cleaver. If that’s too dramatic, use a large knife. Keep them separate from the other pieces.
  • Next comes the sauce: In a large stockpot, combine the torso pieces, cream, butter, brandy, tarragon, garlic and the remaining 2 cups water. Place over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 30 minutes, making sure it doesn’t reduce too much. You need about 1 cup liquid left.
  • Filter out all the parts, toss them away, and keep just the cream. You don’t want the cream runny; instead, it should nicely coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large, shallow pan, warm together the lobster cream and the lobster pieces over medium heat. Add the spaghetti and bacon and twirl all the ingredients around with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through. Garnish with the parsley and serve family style (turn on the TV and start arguing).
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