by Chef Colin Ambrose
Eleven years ago, on the request of a local innkeeper, I organized the following recipe. In the self-published tome that resulted, "Tasting the Hamptons," author Katherine Hartnett instructs her reader on a delicious pairing: "fresh pasta matches the luxurious nature of the lobster," she writes. I'm inclined to suggest that along with freshly harvested corn, roasting the lobster shell is another important clue here.
I’ve toyed a bit with the recipe since the printing of Katherine's book, and this weekend the modified dish has graced the menu at Estia's Little Kitchen as Pasta Verde with North Fork Sweet Corn and Lobster Sauce. It’s a great dish in the summer months; we make extra lobster stock too so our lunch menu can feature a lobster and sweet corn chowder. The chowder is easily adapted from the sauce in this recipe by doubling the amount of aromatic vegetables, adding diced potato and finishing with another dose of cream. As my daughters like to tell me, I’m something of a corny guy; transforming one luxurious dish into another is a great way to extend the corniness at the table.
Pasta Verde with Sweet Corn and Lobster Sauce
7 tablespoons salt, divided
3 (1.5 lb) lobsters
4 ears of corn, kernels removed and cobs reserved
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, divided
1 large Spanish onion, diced fine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
8 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup cream sherry
6 leeks, cleaned and diced
4 stalks celery, cleaned and diced
4 carrots, cleaned, peeled and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cleaned, chopped parsley
1/4 cup cleaned, chopped cilantro
1 pound fresh fettuccine
1) Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add 4 tablespoons of salt then submerge the lobsters (you’ll want to clamp the lid down tightly), boil for 4 minutes, remove with tongs and submerge in ice water.
2) After 5 minutes, remove the lobsters and crack the shells. Remove all the meat and reserve the shells for the sauce.
3) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the lobster shells and the corncobs on a sheet pan and roast for ½ hour.
4) In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt ¼ cup butter. Add the diced onion, followed by the roasted corncobs and lobster shells, chicken stock and white wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat by half. Simmer for 20 minutes.
5) Using a strainer lined with cheesecloth, strain the lobster stock into a reserved saucepan and return to the stovetop. Add the tomato paste and stir until it is mostly dissolved in the stock. Next add the plum tomatoes and the cream sherry.
6) In a separate pan over medium-high heat, sauté the leeks, celery and carrots in the remaining butter. Add the jalapeno and then add the lobster stock to the pot.
7) If you are making this ahead of time, refrigerate the prepared stock until just before serving. To serve, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil and add the remaining salt. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce over medium heat with the lobster meat, heavy cream, corn kernels and herbs.
8) Add the fresh pasta to the pasta water and give it a stir. After 1.5 minutes, remove the pasta with tongs and add it directly to the now heated sauce. Stir to coat the pasta, then plate and serve.
Colin Ambrose owns and operates Estia's Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, New York. He is commited to creating delicious, sustainable cuisine with the best seasonal ingredients.
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