Italian Sunday Dinner – New Twist on Bolognese Sauce – Lobster Bolognese?

 Lobster Bolognese for 4

Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0
Sophia Bush

Just the recipe to get you slightly out of a tired old Christmas Eve menu plan a traditional Italian-style holiday dinner revamped.  Traditional family dishes are a great treat, but with this wonderful recipe your grands and great grands can appreciate your willingness to change, just the least little bit.  It is a perfect pasta dish for Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinners…serve with a great big salad (I made a rustic Greek last night), crusty warm bread and had a cheater apple pan dowdy for dessert, but it will fit nicely as one of the “7” fishes for your celebration.  More on the salad and cheater apple pan dowdy later because I enjoyed both of them…

Rustic Greek Salad

Cheater Apple Pan Dowdy 4

I found the best recipe to test for a holiday dinner, made enough adjustments and changes as usual so it is now in the keeper file with my notes, but here is the recipe as I copied from my cookbook Stir, by Barbara Lynch.

This is a great dish to make ahead of time for a celebration or just a special Sunday dinner, Italian style.  I’ve seen seafood stock in the broth aisle lately and I tried it once, but honestly I cut the intense flavor with clam broth which sweetened it just enough for my taste, but I got to use a lot of the crab, shrimp and clam broths that I had saved in the freezer so it made a great seafood stock blend for this recipe.  I made extra because I know that I will make this again as I know the stock will freeze well.  Keep in mind that this recipe is for 4 people and no it is not a full pound of spaghetti…

If you don’t want to cook the lobsters yourself, have the market do it for you, but tell them you only want them cooked in boiling water and for a mere 5 minutes so that you can finish as the recipe states.  Also, sometimes the market doesn’t sell all of their lobsters so they are par cooked and frozen in the store seafood case, but don’t follow the reheating instructions, just thaw and pick out the meat.  Honestly they have a little funky salty taste, use fresh if you can get them.

Spicy Lobster Bolognese adapted from Barbara Lynch’s Stir

Serves 4

2 1+1/4 lb. lobsters

1/4 cup vegetable oil-I used 2 tablespoon EVOO for part of that mix, but only for the sauce…
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 lb. dried spaghetti salt and pepper to taste
Seafood stock instead of water called for in the recipe

To parcook the lobsters.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Boil the lobsters for 5 minutes (they will not be fully cooked), then plunge them into the ice water. When the lobsters have cooled, twist the tails off the bodies, remove the meat from the tails (save the shells), and cut each tail lengthwise into 2 pieces, removing the intestinal tracts. Remove the claw meat by snapping off the little pincers first. Using the back of a heavy chef’s knife or good kitchen scissors, crack open the claws and remove the meat in a single piece, again reserving the shells. Remove the knuckle meat, too. Refrigerate the lobster meat until ready to use. Chop the lobster shells into 2-inch pieces for the broth.

Lobster broth; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lobster shells and cook, stirring until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add half of the celery, onion and carrot and cook, stirring until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, coriander seeds and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, add 1 qt. water or broth and simmer, covered and on the lowest possible burner setting, for about 45 minutes.

For the sauce, lobster broth, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the rest of the celery, onion, carrot and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the lobster broth, bring to a simmer, and add the chopped tomatoes.  Simmer the sauce 15-20 minutes to cook the tomatoes and thicken it.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cut the reserved lobster meat into large bite-sized pieces. Cook the spaghetti until just shy of al dente. Add the spaghetti and the lobster meat to the sauce. Toss, taste and add more crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Cook for a few more minutes to heat the lobster through and to finish cooking the pasta. Serve immediately.