Make this sauce the day after you have a lobster feast–save those shells and bodies! Either New England or spiny lobsters will work here. This pasta sauce is rich, loaded with lobster flavor, and works well with both short and long pasta.
- 2 to 4 lobster bodies from 1- to 2-pound lobsters
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 dried chilies
- 4 whole garlic cloves ( peeled)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 quart pureed tomatoes (canned is fine)
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 1/2 bunch fresh tarragon
- 1 shot glass of ouzo (or other anise-flavored liqueur)
- 1 shot glass of cognac
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 pound pasta (linguini preferred)
Remove the hard top shell from the lobster bodies and discard. Remove all the inner meat from the body (there is a fair amount, actually!) as well as the green "tomalley" (liver) as well as any of the bright red "coral" (roe) if there is any.
Put all the meat, tomalley, and roe in a bowl, and set aside in the fridge.
Returning to the remains of the lobsters, locate and remove any feathery lungs you find; they are shaped like spear points and are light and grayish. Also, discard the nasty-looking fluid-filled sac at the front of the lobster's head.
Now that the lobster body is cleaned, break up the shells–including broken pieces of legs, knuckles, and claws as well if you have them–into little pieces and set aside.
Put the olive oil in a stockpot and heat over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add the dried chilies and the garlic; turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the garlic browns. Be careful not to burn it.
Add the shells, peppercorns, bay leaves, and whole cloves, and mix well to combine. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Set a large pot of salty water on a burner to a boil. This will be your pasta water.
Now add both the cognac and the ouzo to the lobster sauce and mix well for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the tomato puree, tarragon, and parsley, then cover and bring to a simmer.
Let this simmer for 20 minutes, then crush everything in the pot using a potato masher. Do this again at 45 minutes.
If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water. You want it to be thicker than water, but thinner than what you think of as a sauce; we will thicken it later. Taste for salt and add a little if it needs it.
At the 55-minute mark, turn off the heat. Pour the sauce through a colander into another large pot. Mash the contents one more time. If you happen to have a food mill or duck press, use it. Discard the shells and other bits in the colander.
Now would be a good time to start cooking your pasta.
Pour half the strained sauce into a food processor. Add the reserved lobster meat, tomalley, and coral, then buzz the mixture until smooth. If you have a lot of leftover meat, reserve some for garnishing the pasta.
Pour the contents of the food processor back into the pot with the rest of the strained sauce. If it is still too thin for your liking, add a little tomato paste. Heat gently for 5 minutes–it is very important to not let the sauce boil!–and serve.