Monday, January 4, 2010

Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Aragosti e Carciofi

New Year's Eve to me is always a special time. A special time requires a special meal. A burger and fries just wont do. What spells a special meal more than fresh lobster? Here I used lobsters with one of my favorite vegetables. The sweet acidic punch of the artichokes work beautifully with the richness of the lobster meat. The pasta used in this dish is cut with a pasta chitarra or "guitar" which is indicative of the Abruzzo region of Italy. If you can't find one or don't have one, you can use a tagliatelle/fettuccine cutter on a traditional pasta roller. One of the fun things I tried to do with this dish is show the versatility of artichokes by serving them in 3 distinct textures. One bite of this pasta and you'll see that it is a dish fit for royalty.

TT = to taste

For pasta:
3 1/2 cups Semolina Flour
5 Lg Eggs, room temp
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1T Fine sea salt

Mix ingredients together until dough forms
knead for 5 minutes
wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes
cut into 8 pieces
using one piece at a time roll out to 1/8" thickness long enough to cut on chitarra.
Use a rolling pin to press through the tagliatelle cutter(the wider one)
If you don't have a chitarra, you can roll through halfway through a hand cranked pasta machine and cut through the tagliatelle/fettuccine cutter.
dust pasta lightly with flour and set aside

For Globe Artichokes:
5 globe artichokes with stalks attached
1 1/2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 garlic bulb cut in half along the equator
TT salt
TT black pepper

clean artichokes
remove out leaves, trim the top of the artichoke, slice in half and remove the choke, cut off the stalk, peel the outer layer of the stalks, and cut foot long stalk in half so you'll have two 6" long pieces, place in a pot with plenty of water and the juice of 1 lemon squeezed in
place the split garlic bulb in the water
bring to a boil and cook for 20-30 minutes until stalks are just tender
remove stalks and set aside to cool
keep cooking the hearts for an additional 15-20 minutes until they are very tender
transfer hearts to a food processor or blender
add the garlic cloves from the cooked bulb to the blender
add the olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, the parsley & about a half cup of the cooking liquid to the blender and puree together
You should have a thick smooth puree
season with salt and pepper
set aside
cut stalks into 1/2"-1" discs
set aside

For Baby Artichokes:
1 large container of baby artichokes (2-3#)
1/2 Lemon
4-5T olive oil
TT salt
TT black pepper

Trim the outer leaves and the top of the artichokes
slice very thin and place in a bowl with plenty of water and the squeezed juice of the lemon half
drain the water out
add the oil to a large saute pan over med-high heat
once hot, add the artichokes and saute until crispy
remove and place them on a paper towel and season immediately with salt and pepper

For the rest:
2 Live Female Maine Lobsters (1 1/2# each)
1/4 cup grated buddha hand (sub lemon zest)
1T chili flakes
2T good extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish

Bring 6 Qts of water to a boil
Add 2T of salt
Add the lobsters and cook for 10 min
remove and shock in cold water
Use the lobster water to cook the pasta in
remove all the meat from the lobster, cut into bite size pieces and reserve the tamale and the roe to use in the sauce
In very large saute pan heat the olive oil, and the chili flakes
add the stalks to the pan and heat through
season stalks lightly with salt and pepper
add the artichoke puree, the cooked lobster meat, the tamale, and the roe, then heat through
Drop pasta into boiling water in batches
When pasta floats, cook for an additional 30 seconds then remove and add to the artichokes and toss together
repeat with remaining pasta
once pasta is all cooked off add any pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce
fold in the parsley and the buddha hand zest
transfer to individual plates
garnish with a bit more parsley, a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and some of the crispy baby artichokes
serve immediately

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