A beautiful dish for Valentine’s Day, this is delicious – with sweet succulent lobster, deep, rich tomato flavours, fresh herbs and fiery chilli, and soft pasta. I’ve used the traditional flat-leaf parsley, but I’ve also used mint and basil to add extra aromatic, fresh tastes. This recipe does take time to make – and, of course, you could speed it up enormously by not bothering to remove the seeds from the tomatoes and using boiling water instead of the stock, but finessing the tomatoes like this and adding probably the most beautiful stock you’ll ever make(!) deepens the flavours and makes this a seriously gorgeous dish. (And you’re left with a lobster stock that rocks – use it to make a bisque or a risotto that takes a million miles away from a shop-bought one.)
- 1 large or 2 small cooked lobsters (about 600g/1lb 5oz)
- 1 red chilli, halved and deseeded
- 1 garlic clove
- 1kg/2lb 4oz plum or vine-ripened tomatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 250g/9oz gluten-free spaghetti
- 1 large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
- 2 tbsp finely chopped basil leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, white part chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 6 parsley stalks without leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- Put the lobster onto a chopping board and flatten the tail. With a heavy knife, cut down the middle of the tail lengthways. Pull off the head and claws and open the claws by breaking the shell with the knife. Remove the flesh from the tail and claws and any from the head. Put the shells in a large saucepan to make the stock and leave the lobster meat to one side.
- Add the remaining ingredients for the stock to the pan, cover with 1.5l/52fl oz/6 cups water and bring just to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer, covered with a lid, for 40 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the remaining ingredients.
- Put the chilli and garlic in a mini food processor or spice mill and blend until finely chopped.
- With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the skins of the tomatoes, place in a large, heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 2–3 minutes, then take out of the water, peel off the skins, remove the seeds and chop coarsely.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the spaghetti and cook over a medium heat for 8–10 minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet, until soft. Make sure you stir frequently to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick. Drain and rinse well with freshly boiled water, then drain again.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the chilli and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5–6 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and formed a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the lobster. Cook for a couple of minutes. When the pasta and tomato sauce are cooked, add to the pan and stir in well. Add 3 tablespoons of the hot stock and the herbs and stir in thoroughly. Serve immediately.