Saffron Lobster Pappardelle
Here is a rich and luxurious recipe that is perfect for your time-starved holiday schedule. It is made with pappardelle, the widest and most flamboyant of the traditional egg noodle pastas. (The name comes from the Italian word pappare, which means “to gobble up.”) The secret ingredient is saffron, which, while a bit expensive, gives seafood an indescribably wonderful flavor. Serve this dish family style on a large decorative platter as a culinary centerpiece for your New Year’s Dinner.
Preparation time: Allow 1 hour and 10 minutes.
1 ¼ pounds lobster tails (4 or 5 medium-size tails)
Simmering liquid (see below)
1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
½ teaspoon saffron
¼ teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
Ingredients for simmering liquid
2 quarts water
2 cups white wine
3 teaspoons salt
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium leek, white part only, cleaned and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch segments
Instructions for simmering liquid
Combine all the ingredients, except the lobster, in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pot and bring it to a simmer again. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Place the lobster in the simmering liquid and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. Strain the lobster in a colander and discard the cooking liquid. Place in the ice water bath for 3 to 5 minutes to chill, adding more ice if necessary to cool.
When the lobster tails are cool enough to handle, use the point of a paring knife to score the underside of each tail and cut a line lengthwise along the middle of each tail. Crack the tails open and pull out the meat. Chop it into small chunks about ¼ to ½-inch in diameter and set aside.
Instructions for pasta
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and stir it a bit as it softens. Reduce heat slightly, but keep it high enough to maintain a boil without splattering the stove. Cook until the noodles are tender but still firm, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain in a colander and shake dry. (Do not rinse.) Leave the noodles in the colander and set aside.
Instructions for sauce
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan or deep-sided skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lobster broth, wine, saffron and ¼ teaspoon salt. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower to medium-high and let simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cream and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the lobster chunks and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Makes 4 main course servings, or 6 appetizer servings.
Suggested wine pairing: Chandon Reserve Chardonnay Brut
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