We got a surprise call from our great friend Ben who had some live lobsters which he was terrified of. He’s now got over this and is an expert lobster stabber and we got the benefit of two live lobsters too. I made this years ago before I met Jules and have always promised to cook it if two live lobsters arrive on our doorstep, so happy Friday night Jules! This recipe feeds 4 people – we had no problem finding 2 volunteers to help us eat it.
Il miglior brodo siciliano di aragosta – the best Sicilian lobster broth – to serve 4
- 150g dried lasagne sheets, smashed up
- 2 x 1kg live lobsters
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp chilli flakes or 1 or 2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, smashed
- 1/2 a bottle of Sicilian white wine – you can substitute any white wine
- 850ml passata or 3 x 400g tins plum tomatoes, liquidized
- a large handful of whole almonds, skins on
- a small handful of fresh basil leaves
Put a large pot on a very gentle heat. When hot, pour a good glug of olive oil in along with all the head pieces and lobster legs. You can turn the heat up a bit now. Add your onions, garlic, carrots, cinnamon stick, chillies and fennel seeds. Continue frying this for about 15 minutes – keep moving it around in the pot – so the onions take on a bit of colour but careful they don’t burn. If the pan gets too hot just splash in a bit of water.
Add your white wine and boil hard for 5 minutes before adding the passata and the same quantity of water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. Now put a colander on top of another large pot and pass the soup through it. Press down on the shells with the back of a ladle and let them drip for 5 minutes to make sure you get all the flavour out of them. You can now throw the shells away. Put the soup back on the heat to simmer. It should look like tomato soup – if you think it looks to thick you can add a little water.
Slice the lobster tails across, through the shell and the meat, into 2.5cm slices and put these into the broth. Crack open the claws and pick out all the meat and add this to the broth too. Continue to simmer for 8 more minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water, then drain and toss into the soup for 4-5 minutes.
Chop the almonds very finely and stir into the soup. Taste and season if needed. Divide between 4 bowls, tear over some basil leaves and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
Wine Suggestions: as this is such a rich dish you need to pair it with a wine that is a little more robust and full-bodied. For whites there are a couple of options: stay local and choose Sicilian wines like Inzolia or Grillo which have weight and a herbal minerality. The other option is to look at a classic Chardonnay with a bit of oak for structure. Try to pick one that has a little bit of acidity for freshness too. This was the option we went for and it worked a treat. For red, do the opposite and look for a fruity, but lighter style of wine like an easy and inexpensive Pinot Noir or Grenache – you want to avoid too much tannin and weight which would overwhelm the sweet, delicate lobster.
(Original recipe by Jamie Oliver in Jamie’s Italy)