my husband and i love to cook together, eat together and drink wine together. some of our favorite memories are centered around our experiences with food. for us, food is love and when you cook with the person you love, awesomely yummy things make their way to your table.
this year i am launching a new blog series called, click + eat. this series will highlight delicious recipes my husband and i prepare, my fine art food photography, food styling tips, wine pairing advice and documentations of the scrumptious eats we enjoy during our travels! my goal is to inspire you to bring amazing smells to your home and tastiness to your bellies!!
after having spent the summer of 2012 in italy, our love for the italian culture and their philosophy of cooking has only grown that much more. it was only natural that we also find ourselves eagerly watching the show, extra virgin, on the cooking channel--living vicariously through the stars of the show. debi mazar and gabriele corcos are very similar to my husband and i; even our roles in the kitchen are the same. if you have never seen the show, watch it! it will make you salivate and want to emulate their lifestyle...and you will most definitely, "stay hungry" [to quote their tag line].
last week shawn and i watched gabriele and guest chef, anthony bourdain, create this gorgeous lobster arrabiata. the very next day i put in a call to our fish monger, dirk's fish & gourmet shop, to order our lobsters.
the recipe calls for two, 1.5 pound lobsters (or three, 1 pound lobsters), but I ordered two, 2 pound lobsters because i really LOVE lobster. our fish monger will also steam the lobster and have it ready to pick up. this takes away some of the pressure of timing everything at home and since they are experts at what they do, they steam them perfectly and will even go a bit underdone like the recipe states TIP: you will toss the lobster meat and legs in the sauce later and don't want them to be over done.
in the above photo the lobster heads are roasting in the lobster's own juices -- this starts to build the foundation of the sauce and looks pretty too. TIP: make sure when you crack open the lobsters to do so over a bowl and save all the juices that run out. we even saved the tomalley (green stuff) and added it to the sauce; it adds flavor and thickens the sauce a bit so it sticks to the pasta more.
the legs of the lobster (shown in the photo above) are put aside in a bowl and will be tossed into the sauce later. avoid snacking on these. they add visual impact to your dish and continue to flavor the dish as you dine. TIP: when i eat shellfish i don't like to pre-crack the shells before serving. it seems weird, but I love the fight! AND the reward!! this also slows down my eating thus equalling more time with my husband and our guests at the table and i adore that time!
after roasting the lobster heads for five minutes in GOOD olive oil remove them and add the garlic and hand crushed chiles. the aroma is infectious! waft in the smells and enjoy a glass of the wine you will use in the sauce!!
TIP: DUH! use a wine that you would love to drink. you hear this over and over on cooking shows...do what they say!! my husband and i chose to use Pazo San Mauro, Rias Baixas, Albarino, 2011. this is a spanish white we picked up at our wine store, binny's. what we love about this wine is there is NO OAK! it is very minerally and that is right up our alley.
once the tomatoes and lobster have gotten all happy in the sauce add the pasta. the recipe does not come right out and say how much pasta, but if you look at the serving size of the dish it will clue you in. for us, half a box of barilla thick spaghetti worked perfectly; you don't want to have too much pasta -- i'd also rather have more lobster anyway :)
no matter how many people are enjoying the meal you absolutely CANNOT forget the food styling. this means you don't just slap your food onto a plate and start digging in. i know it is cliche, but we really do eat with our eyes first and after having spent all of that time and effort in the kitchen you owe it to yourself to make your plates look appealing. i even do this when cooking just for myself. [more food styling tips to come to future blog posts]
serve this dish onto a large platter instead of serving up individual bowls at the stove. i used my large red oval dish from crate and barrel. the red echoed the color of the tomatoes, chiles, and lobster and emphasized the vivid green basil. i debated using one of my large white serving platters, but am so glad i went for the red. using tongs i repositioned the lobster legs so they didn't get lost in the dish.
the spicy qualities of the arrabiata sauce played nicely against the sweetness of the lobster and the crisp fresh basil brought a fresh, brightness to the party. our wine pairing was perfect and allowed the flavors of this amazing recipe to sing. this dish has definitely made its way into our cooking repertoire and we cannot wait to make it for our friends! enjoy!!
the entire recipe can be found here...
*all images copyright jennifer jackson photography and may not be used or reproduced without permission from jennifer jackson.