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Conchiglie with Lobster and Broccoli

from Rice Pasta Couscous by Jeff Koehler
Conchiglie with Lobster and Broccoli

1 live female lobster (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1 pound broccoli, stems trimmed and broken into bite-size florets
14 ounces conchiglie
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Peperoncino or red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons brandy
1 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons white mine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in Rice Pasta Couscous by Jeff Koehler from Chronicle Books


The northwestern Sardinian port city of Aighero was a Catalan (then Spanish) outpost for 350 years, until 1720. So no wonder, then, that the most famous way to prepare Alghero's celebrated lobsters is alla catalana, with onions and tomatoes. Tasty. But I love how Benito Carbonella, the owner and chef at Al Tuguri restaurant, pairs them with broccoli and then tosses them with conchiglie. With its spectacular colors and even more spectacular flavors, this recipe, adapted from Carbonella's, is a particular favorite of ours to serve to guests at home.

With a very sharp knife, split the live lobster in half lengthwise, cutting along the belly and catching any juice that falls. Reserve the eggs and liver. Discard the head and trim the feet. Cut the body into cube-shaped pieces, keeping the meat attached to the shell if possible. Pick out any tiny shards of shell. Gently crack the large claws so that they remain intact but the meat will be easily accessible when eating.

Steam the broccoli until done but still firm. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

In a pasta pot, bring quarts of water to a boil and add 4 teaspoons of salt. When the water returns to a rolling boil, add the pasta. Boil the pasta, stirring from time to time to keep it from clumping together, until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, a generous pinch of peperoncino, and the lobster cubes. As soon as the lobster changes color from pearly white to plain white, about 2 minutes, add the reserved lobster eggs, lobster liquid, and the brandy. Stir and immediately add the wine and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved broccoli and a pinch of salt, stir gently, and cover, allowing the flavors to meld for 3 to 4 minutes. Splash in a bit of water, if needed, to keep it moist.

Drain the pasta but do not rinse, shaking off any water that clings to it. Toss it with the lobster and broccoli. Serve in warm bowls, sprinkling parsley and a generous amount of pepper over the top.

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