Dish off the Block: Lobster pasta in cream sauce
Did you know that the best time to enjoy Block Island lobster is not in the summer?
Admittedly, New England lobster is sweet and delicious any time of year, but lobsters in the waters surrounding our favorite glacial deposit generally begin the molting process, where they shed their shell and grow a new one, in June and July. This means there is very likely less of the luscious meat in their shells during the summer. This can vary a bit, depending on the size of the lobster and water temperature. (Maine lobsters molt a little later due to colder water.) It is safe to say you are guaranteed to get a lobster that is chock-full with plump, sweet meat during the months of April and May. So, I suggest you phone your favorite seafood store and whip up this delicious lobster pasta with spring vegetables — flavored with a decadent sherry cream sauce!
4 tbs. butter
1 leek, white and light green parts chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup sherry
1 cup lobster or seafood stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into bite size pieces
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lb. linguini pasta, cooked al dente
Melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Sauté the leek and the garlic until soft and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sherry to the pan and cook for 1 minute, letting the sherry reduce slightly. Add the stock, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the pan. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally, letting the sauce begin to reduce, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste to the pan, whisking to fully combine. Gradually add the parmesan, a quarter cup at a time, whisking constantly to fully combine.
Cut the woody ends off the asparagus (about 3 to 4 inches) and discard. Chop the remaining part of the stalks into 2 to 3 inch, bite size pieces and add them to the sauce. Continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the asparagus is just tender. Note: this timing will vary a bit depending on the thickness of your asparagus. If the stalks are really thick, cook a little longer and if they are very thin, cook a little less. You want them to be crisp tender.
Finally, add the peas and lobster meat to the sauce, stirring to combine. Add your pasta to the pot and toss with the sauce to fully coat. Garnish with parsley and serve with additional parmesan on the side. Devour!
Pamela Gelsomini is a passionate cook and foodie who grew up spending every summer on Block Island. Gelsomini retired a year ago and launched a food and lifestyle blog, ‘Dish off the Block,’ which features food that is inspired by local and international flavors... and of course Block Island fare. Visit her blog at www.dishofftheblock.com.