Gratin de macaronis au homard or lobster penne gratin (Serves 4)
2 medium lobsters (live)
3 small shallots, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
30g tomato purée
1 litre double cream
350g penne pasta
30g Parmesan, finely grated
sea salt and black pepper
Two hours before you start to prepare the dish, put the lobsters in the freezer.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the lobsters and cook for 3-5 minutes (depending on size). You’re not aiming to cook the lobster meat fully at this point; as soon as the shells start to turn a reddish-pink, remove them from the pan. Set aside and leave to cool.
Finely chop the shallots.
Crush the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife and mince finely.
Slice the tomato into eights and cut the carrot into small dice.
When the lobster is cool enough to handle, twist off the claws and remove the legs from the body. Crack the claws, remove the flesh and set aside, reserving the shells. Pick the meat out from the legs using a small fork.
Remove the tail and crush until you hear it crack (this can be done with your hands), then peel away the shell. Set aside the tail meat, reserving the shells and discarding the intestinal thread.
Use the tip of a large, sharp knife to cut through the lobster head, then roughly chop, along with the shells.
Place a large saucepan containing 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a high heat. Add all the chopped lobster shells to the pan. Use a heavy wooden spoon to crush them – you want to release as much flavour as possible. The shells will release some water. After this has evaporated, add the butter.
When the shells are a deep red colour and are nicely roasted, add the chopped shallots, garlic and carrot to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelise around the edges.
Mix the tomato purée and water together and pour into the pan, along with the fresh tomato. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated.Reduce the heat and pour in the cream. Stir and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and leave to infuse for a further 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for three quarters of the time stated on the packet. Again, you want to blanch the pasta, rather than cook it fully. Drain and return to the pan. Chop the lobster meat into small pieces.
Strain the lobster sauce through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Discard the shells. Place the pan containing the pasta sauce on the hob over a medium heat, pour over the sauce and stir well to coat. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
Add the chopped lobster meat to the pan and stir gently, as it is very delicate.Heat the grill to high. Spoon the mixture into one large gratin dish or four smaller ones. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the top and place under the grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese turns light golden brown. Serve.
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