The time has come for another fresh pasta recipe. It has been a while.
But there is just something so majestic about a pile of eggy gluten coated in reduced cream and wine. And did I mention that it’s topped off with some fresh lobster?
The Maine lobster provides a fabulous meat, at once sweet and succulent, tender if not boiled to death and an obvious decadence to many of us who cannot afford it on a regular basis.
Yesterday, I was reading an interesting article in “Business Insider” about a machine invented for the sole purpose of removing lobster meat from its shell without it seeing any heat whatsoever. If you’ve ever tried shucking a lobster, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
There was only one time in my career that I attempted to shuck a raw lobster after dispatching it as humanely as possible. And it did not end well. No, it did not end well at all.
The meat simply won’t come out when the beast is raw, clinging to the shell with a fury that ensures that it will be torn to shreds if you continue to work with it. So, you par cook it for a few minutes and then shock it in ice water, leaving you with separated but obviously partially cooked meat.
That’s not to say that’s it’s lesser in quality, but this machine – The Big Mother Shucker – yes, that is the name of this 80,000-pound beast, is amazingly simple technology.
Based on similar processes used in Louisiana to shuck oysters, it basically applies thousands of pounds of pressurized water onto the lobsters, killing them instantly and in 60 seconds leaving the meat completely removed from the shell.
At that point, it’s simply a matter of hand-shucking the meat out and sending it off to its various destinations. Even more fascinating is the inadvertent discovery that the pressure was found incidentally to kill all pathogens harmful to humans, to include salmonella, listeria and e. coli. Now that is a cool machine. And the beauty of science is that the meat is not squashed as it is a perfectly even pressure from all sides.
At the end of the day, it made sense to fire up the pasta roller again and throw together this simple pasta dish. You really don’t need too much else except some fresh pasta, a cream reduction and some Maine lobster meat. Pair this with a nice pinot noir or crisp steel chardonnay and I think you’ll be set. Just make sure that the wine has a fair amount of acidity to cut through the unctuous cream sauce.
Also be sure not to overcook the beast, as chewy lobster is an egregious waste of meat that can cost upwards of $40 per pound if completely shucked. Yes, that is fairly accurate if you are paying $9.95 per pound for whole lobster, as the yield is approximately 25 percent of total weight. Yes, it can be quite pricy. Of course, you can use the shells to make a delicious stock or lobster butter so as to not waste anything from the animal, but that’s up to you.
Either way, give this a shot as it is super simple. And you get to make that fresh pasta once again. You’ll be a pro at it.
1# fresh pasta (recipe follows)
1 Tsp. Clarified butter
1 shallot, finely minced
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
1 sprig thyme, stripped of its leaves
1/2 c. Dry white wine
1 c. Heavy cream
1# lobster meat (save claws for top)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
2. At the same time, heat a sauté pan and add the butter.
3. Sauté the shallots until they dry a little and then add the garlic and thyme.
4. Cook for two minutes and then add the wine, reducing by half.
5. Add the cream and reduce this by half.
6. While this is cooking, add the pasta to the water and return to a soft boil.
7. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then remove to the cream sauce.
8. In a separate pan, heat a bit more butter and sauté the lobster meat to cook through if raw or warm up if precooked.
9. Assemble and serve, garnishing with fresh Italian parsley.
makes about 1#
7 oz. Type 00 flour
7 oz. Fine Semolina flour
4 eggs, whole
2 Tbsp. Milk, or as needed
Salt to taste
1. Add the flours, eggs and 2 tbsp. milk to the bowl of a stand mixer.
2. With the paddle attachment instead of the dough hook (a great trick I learned from Chef Giuseppe at Sello’s in West Ocean City), turn the machine on a low speed.
3. The paddle will put the dough together in less than a minute, and then allow it to knead for about five minutes. If it gets too hard on the machine, then and only then would you replace the paddle with the hook.
4. When the dough is ready to go, remove from the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
5. Roll and cut your pasta, ensuring to toss it in a little extra flour to keep it from sticking together.
Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
—Paul Suplee is a Professor of Culinary Arts at
Wor-Wic Community College and owner of
boxcar40 and boxcar on main.
Visit him at www.boxcar40.com;