Lobster Fra Diavolo, 10 Years of Blogging, and a Giveaway
I don’t know about you, but I can’t get my fill of lobster – whether it’s steamed and dipped in butter, or whether it’s lobster fra diavolo, as in this recipe. Some people claim it’s an Italian American invention, but I’m not so sure, after eating it several times on my recent trip to Italy, including one night in Rome with this version:
And a couple of times in Sardinia, as in this interpretation:
and this one below. In Italy, they’re called astice, the Mediterranean version of North American lobsters. Italy also has aragosta, similar to North American lobsters, but without the large claws.
When we returned back to the states, I was determined to make this dish at home. It’s not at all hard to make, but can be pricey depending on the size of the lobsters. But it’s a great meal for a special occasion and can be partly prepared ahead of time, making it easy for entertaining.
A few weeks before making the lobster fra diavolo, we enjoyed a Fourth of July steamed lobster feast with friends, from which I saved and froze some of the carcasses. The broth you can make from these adds a great depth of flavor to the lobster fra diavolo, but if you don’t want to fuss with it (or don’t have the lobster shells ahead of time), use bottled clam juice. I simmered this broth for a couple of hours before straining through cheesecloth. It made way more than I needed for this recipe, so I froze the rest, to be used for other recipes in the future, such as a lobster or shrimp bisque.
I love the sweetness of cherry tomatoes and there were an abundance of them in our garden, so for the sauce, I roasted a bunch with some olive oil at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until they split open.
If you don’t want to use fresh cherry tomatoes, or don’t have any, use the canned. The ones packed in Italy are so deliciously sweet, I like to keep a few cans on hand for other recipes too, like my codfish and chickpeas in tomato sauce.
Follow the instructions for the sauce in the recipe below, and simmer for about an hour. You can even do this the day before.
The best way to make this dish is with fresh lobsters. If you don’t have fresh lobsters near where you live, then frozen lobster tails will make a nice substitute. If you do live near a good fish store, your fishmonger can use a knife to quickly dispatch the live lobsters, then clean them and split the tails in two. I also asked him to break off the tails and claws from the main body, and crack the claws so it would be easier to remove the meat once the dish was served. He was more than happy to do it.
When the sauce is cooked, add the lobster pieces. In the time it takes to boil the water for the pasta, the lobster pieces will be cooked. Remove the lobster pieces to a dish and keep covered to stay warm, then add the pasta to the sauce and mix. Place the pasta in a serving bowl and surround with the warm lobster pieces.
Provide plenty of napkins and some way to crack the shells further, if they don’t open enough.
Eating this dish was almost like being back in Italy (almost).
And now for the blogiversary and giveaway. Hard to believe that ten years have gone by since I started this blog. I’ve taken a few breaks from blogging now and then when life has thrown me a curve ball, but even then, getting back to blogging has been a catharsis for me. I’ve met so many wonderful people in person because of Ciao Chow Linda, and it has given me a forum to showcase a few things I love doing – traveling, cooking, writing and taking photographs.
In the beginning, my only readers were family, but through the years, so many of you have come aboard the Ciao Chow Linda train and left comments, or sent me emails and I am eternally grateful for your support. I read all of them and they really encourage me to keep doing what I love best.
As a thank you to one of you (I wish I could do this for all of you), I’m offering a giveaway of a $100 gift card to LobsterGram, so you’ll be able to make this lobster fra diavolo or any other recipe you like, using fresh live lobsters sent directly from Maine. All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog telling me what recipe you’d like to see on Ciao Chow Linda (NOT by email), with a way to contact you if you’re chosen (by a computer generated random number). To increase your chances of winning, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, and say so in the comments.
- To Make The Lobster Broth (This will make a lot and you can freeze what you don't need. Alternatively, you could buy bottled clam juice.):
- lobster shells from 2 or three lobsters
- water to cover amply
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 or 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- a couple of bay leaves
- salt, pepper
- To Make the Sauce (This makes more than you'll need for 1 pound of pasta, but you can freeze what you don't use.)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 celery stick, minced
- 3 cans cherry tomatoes (14 ounce cans) - or an equivalent amount of freshly roasted cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ cup dry white or red wine
- salt, pepper
- fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- dried red pepper flakes, to taste
- ¼ to ½ cup lobster broth
- 2 1½ pound lobsters
- 1 pound linguini or spaghetti
- Buy two fresh lobsters and ask your fish monger to kill them while they are still alive.
- If you don't have access to fresh lobster, you can always use frozen (and thawed) lobster tails, but fresh is always best.
- Have the fish monger remove and crack the claws, and break off the tail, then cut it in half lengthwise.
- You won't need the part with the lungs and there is so little meat in the legs (also impossible to extract), so don't bother with those.
- Make the lobster broth by placing the lobster shells, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a large pot, covering amply with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple of hours and reduce slightly to let the flavors intensify.
- Drain through a cheesecloth, discarding all but the broth.
- You will need only a small part of this broth.
- Save the rest to make other recipes, including lobster or shrimp bisque.
- To Make the Sauce:
- Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft.
- Add the garlic, celery and carrots and sauté over low heat until softened.
- Add the tomatoes, the puree, the wine and seasonings and let simmer for about an hour.
- Remove about 1½ cups - 2 cups of the sauce and set aside.
- You may want to add some back to the pot later when you add the pasta, but you should have enough to put some in the freezer later for another recipe.
- To the remainder of the sauce in the pan, add the lobster broth.
- Simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Add the lobster pieces to the sauce and cook with the sauce over low to medium heat, with the lid on.
- While the lobster is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling (salted) water until al dente.
- When the pasta is nearly cooked, remove the lobsters from the sauce and set aside on a covered dish.
- Drain the pasta, and add it to the pot with the sauce.
- Swirl the pasta in the sauce, allowing it to absorb all the flavors.
- The pasta should have enough sauce to cover, but not be swimming in sauce.
- If necessary, add some of the reserved sauce.
- Place the pasta in a serving bowl or dish, and place the lobster pieces all around.
- Serve at once.
Happy anniversary! I love all of your recipes so I’m happy with anything you choose!
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Looks to me as you’ve done an excellent job of recreating your Lobster Fra Diavolo as you enjoyed it in Italy. This is a dish that’s popular in most finer Italian restaurants. I’ve always thought of it as Italian, but who knows. The sauce looks devine and one I like to try on our Swedish lobster.
follow you on Pinterest! 🙂
Happy Anniversary! Where did the time go? The lobster frackers diavolo looks amazing and is a favorite of my husband. I would love to see you share a recipe from one of your trips to Abruzzo that you haven’t posted yet.
That lobster looks so good!
Do you ever make Ribollita ?
Connie – Yes I do make ribollita, and there’s a recipe for it on the blog. Just plug in ribollita in the search box.
My gosh, I don’t even know the last time I had lobster — years and years. I’d love to try to make this recipe. It looks so good and I can almost taste the lobster. And congratulations on 10 years. Where does the time go?? I want time to slow down just a bit. I loved reading about your trip on the boat. Looked like so much fun.
I forgot to say that I follow you on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!!
You are the best!
Happy anniversary! Congratulations! 10 years is quite an accomplishment! I also follow you on Instagram! I’d like to see a recipe for what my grandmother called torta! She was from Tuscany, and torta was a potato and tomato sauce dish with lots of cheese and basil! All your recipes are wonderful, and I enjoy them all!!
Follow you on Facebook, Too!!
Happy Anniversary! My husbands Italian great grandma made some apparently awesome stuffed calamari . She passed away before I met him, so I personally never had them, but my husband drools anytime it gets mentioned. BUT she never wrote down the recipe so the stuffing recipe is lost forever. So if you have any stuffed calamari recipes I would love to see them.
I am now following on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest (username for all is @okwhaeva)
Lisa – I have a stuffed calamari recipe on the blog, posted many years ago when I first started. Plug in the words “stuffed squid” in the search box and it will come up. Thanks.
Thanks Linda, I’ll look for that!!
Thanks for all the recipes!
Happy Anniversary! Your photos of your recipes always make me hungry!! Even after I’ve just eaten! My step son grows Lion Mane mushrooms…..any recipes for that?
Jackie – Thanks. I never heard of lion mane mushrooms but just looked them up on the internet. Quite an interesting shape. I just did a google search under “lion’s mane mushrooms” and a lot of recipes appeared.
Once again an autocorrect on my comment-I was trying to say “fra diavolo” not frackers!
Get me a bib, clam hammer, wet wipes and tons of napkins! This recipe is a keeper and one I will try when back in the states. I loved the hint of asking the fish vendor to kill and separate the lobster. I always thought I had to carry the big guys home alive and dump them in boiling water. What a joy to have them prepped. Kudos on dieci anni. Complimenti!
You make all of your food look so mouthwatering! i cant wait to try your Eaater coconut creams! I have fond memories of Pasta Fagioli that our cook in Italy used to make for us when I was younger. Do you have one that you particularly love?
Sarah – Thank you. I have a couple of recipes for that. Plug in the words “pasta e fagioli” in the search box on the blog and they’ll come up.
I’m here to say congratulations on 10 years, it’s quite the accomplishment! Your food and travel posts always have me dreaming, I hope you continue doing what you’re doing.
My 11th blogiversary came and went on August 15th and I completely forgot, I guess by now it’s just another day. 🙂
Congratulations on ten years of blogging. I love all your recipes, your travel posts and your writing and I hope you keep at it for many years to come. Your recipes always turn out great and keep my family happy. When I’m having company, I know where to look first for inspiration. And if I ever get to Italy, I’m going to use your blog as a guide for where to go.
Gosh, 10 years, that’s an amazing accomplishment, Linda! It will be 10 years for me year about this same time. I love lobster too and two of the couples in our gourmet group co-host a lobster boil every September that we are very much looking forward to in a couple of weeks. Your lobster with the cherry tomatoes sounds wonderful and something I’d love to try with my abundance of cherry tomatoes this year! A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to win some live Maine lobsters from another giveaway so I will give one of your other readers a better chance to experience the same wonderful experience by not entering.
As they say, time goes by so quickly when you are having fun. Congratulations on your ten years of blogging and I will be looking forward to all your new posts, whether travel or cooking. Your lobster sounds especially good with your homemade lobster broth.
Oh my. You really hit a home run here. I have been following you since your early days of blogging and I love everything you cook, but this is over the top delicious looking. We don’t have lobsters where I live, so I would have to rely on the frozen ones. I hope I win the lobster gram! Congratulations and I hope you continue blogging for many years.
Wow, ten years! Congratulations! It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to make it that far.
And I should know. I thought I was the only “old timer” left around the blogosphere, but I guess I was very wrong. My 10th is coming up next year…
Ten years? Already? Geez, how did those years fly by so quickly? I always enjoy reading a new post that comes out. Your recipes are great, but I love the travel commentary, the Italian grammar you throw in and your knowledge of Italian food. Plus your writing is heads and shoulders above other bloggers. Keep it going for at least another ten years, please.
Forgot to mention that I follow you on Facebook and Instgram!
Congratulations on 19 years of blogging, Linda! I passed that mark but haven’t had time to celebrate it myself. Your lobster Fra Diavolo looks mouth watering good! It was a favorite dish at a restaurant we went to often when we lived in Brooklyn. Now I have to make it myself as it is cost prohibitive in restaurants here. Happily, Costco often has lobster tails here at a fair price, I’ll have to check out the lobster gram website!
Linda, auguri – ten years is a long time and you certainly have blazed a trail for those who follow you. This is the perfect recipe to present to your readers on the occasion of your anniversary. It certainly is a favorite of ours and is reminiscent of both the east coast and dining seaside in Italy.
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