That lovely, loving, holiday of love is coming up. Since we’ve had kids, Valentine’s Day has become more about school parties, arts, crafts, and kid treats than a romantic night out for hubby and me. Though, to be honest, we were never ones to compete with the crowds at fancy restaurants on V-Day anyway. I have always preferred to make a simple meal at home, using a “splurge” ingredient to elevate the meal into something special and decadent. This year I am looking to lobster, a crustacean which I adore for special occasions. Since this is a creamy, lemony pasta dish, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg (or a claw) on a huge lobster. A 3-4 ounce serving of lobster meat per person is plenty. If you can find fresh Florida spiny lobster, try using that here. Spiny lobsters, in season now, don’t have claws, but their tail meat is sweet, briny and delicious and would be great in this dish. One final note, I love capers, but my husband only tolerates them. When making this for our family, I add them only to my plate at the end. You can leave them out all together if they aren’t your thing, add them at the end as I do for only those who like them, or follow the recipe and add them to the dish during cooking. I’ve written the recipe to serve four (since our kids will be enjoying Valentine’s Day dinner with us and the extra two portions will easily feed the three youngsters), but this recipe is easily halved for a special dinner for two.
Lemony Lobster Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Mint
- 12 ounces lobster meat sliced into 1 inch pieces* (use up to a pound if you love lobster)
- 2-3 small shallots chopped, about ½ cup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon for pasta water
- 12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if large I like using multi-colored
- 1 tablespoon capers rinsed and drained, optional
- ½ cup dry white wine or sparkling wine
- ¼ cup heavy cream you can add more if you like it creamier
- Zest of 1 lemon plus wedges for serving
- 12 ounces pasta such as tagliatelle
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add about a tablespoon of salt and keep at a simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large skillet that has a lid, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the shallot and teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully as you don’t want the shallots to burn, but want a fairly high heat here so the tomatoes start to burst. When they look like they are just starting to break down and the pan is super hot, pour in the wine. Cook for a minute or two to let some of the wine cook off, then cover with the lid and turn to low.
- While the tomatoes are simmering, add the pasta to your pot of boiling water and cook.
- When the pasta is just one minute shy of being done, add the lobster meat to the tomatoes along with the lemon zest and capers (if using). Stir for a minute.
- Use tongs to lift the pasta out of the water and put it directly in the pan with the tomatoes and lobster. Turn the heat back up to medium high. Stir, adding about ½ cup pasta cooking water. Cook over medium heat until the sauce is nicely thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the cream and stir to combine, making sure it is warmed through. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Place the pasta on plates and garnish with the mint.
Tips & Tricks
- To remove the lobster from the tails, use kitchen scissors to cut through the shell up the bottom of the lobster tail. Pull the shell apart, reach in from the end with your fingers, and gently release the meat. It should come out in one piece.