Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lobster Fettucine with Shiitakes and Sherry Butter Sauce


My husband and I live in a condo with a fairly small, but efficiently designed, kitchen. When we moved in, everything was new and complete with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and blush-colored wood cabinets. The thing I like best about our kitchen is the open wall with a bar-style counter that lets in light from our huge living room window.

Sometimes, when I’m cooking something simple, Mike will sit on a stool on the other side of the counter and chat with me, usually with a beer in hand. If a recipe only requires one cook, I’m happy to be doing the work--it’s tremendously relaxing and pleasurable. But recently, I learned that I like it almost as much when I’m the one sitting on the other side of that counter.

This Lobster Fettucine was our Christmas Eve dinner. I really can’t remember why, but we decided Mike would do the cooking on this go-round. I don’t mean to make it sound like he never helps in the kitchen. In fact, he’s a great cook with or without me, he makes the best runny eggs over easy, and he really likes cooking for me. I’m sure he’d like it even more if I didn’t always want to get my fingers into everything.


This is one luxurious pasta dish--chunks of fresh lobster meat, mild shiitake mushrooms and peppery arugula are folded into a Sherry butter sauce and tossed with firm whole wheat fettucine. One person can spend about 45 minutes in the kitchen (less if you cook the lobster tails a few hours ahead of time) and make this impressive dish without breaking a sweat. Actually, I don’t know if Mike broke a sweat, but he did a gorgeous job with the recipe.

I flagged it in the 2006 holiday issue of Bon Appetit and came across it again this year when I was making lists in early December of things I wanted to cook throughout the holidays. I like the addition of Sherry to add a boozy bite of juicy red fruit, instead of the usual lemon and butter lobster accompaniments. Slightly bitter arugula didn’t quite fit with lobster in my head, but we love the stuff and figured it just might work. All the flavors are perfect together, and the sweet, tender lobster is not overshadowed in the least by the other strong flavors--butter has the power to unite all things.

I thought this was ideal holiday food, but it may be even more appropriate for that other holiday right around the corner--Valentine’s Day. This recipe is perfect for two, but it should double nicely. It looked like fun to make, but watching the proceedings, glass of wine in hand, could be even more fun.

Lobster Fettucine with Shiitakes and Sherry Butter Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2006--The original recipe appeared in the "Readers' Favorite Restaurant Recipes" section and doesn't seem to be available on the website.

This dish is so simple that really good ingredients are key. If you keep Marsala on hand rather than Sherry, you can substitute it in this dish (the original version calls for Marsala which is made in Italy; Sherry comes from Spain). Do not (ever!) use “cooking” wine, but rather something you could actually drink. Wine shops sell good Sherry or Marsala for around $10 or less. We use a medium dry Amontillado Sherry. These fortified wines are wonderful to have on hand for making pan sauces or glazes. Once you have some in your pantry, you will find many uses for it!

Serves 2

2 medium lobster tails
5-6 oz. fettucine (we like Bionaturae’s whole wheat fettucine available at Whole Foods markets)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tbs. unsalted butter
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
3/4 cup dry sherry
3 cups arugula leaves (about 3 good handfuls)

Cook lobster tails in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool, then remove meat from shell and cut into bite size pieces. Lobster meat may be slightly undercooked; it will finish in the skillet.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt generously and cook the fettucine according to package directions.

Melt one tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shiitakes, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add Sherry, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Whisk in remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time. Stir in lobster and any accumulated juices until heated, about 1 minute. Add pasta and toss well. Add arugula and toss until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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9 comments:

Peabody said...

Now that is a way to celebrate! Yum.

Emiline said...

Your house sounds beautiful. I loved the one time that I got to spend in Florida.

It's always nice to have a break from the kitchen. Your husband did a good job! I love everything about this dish. I recently found fresh shitakes at a grocery store, so I'll have to try this sometime.

Mo said...

Julie,
This sounds wonderful. I'm going to send this link to my husband with a hint, hint, wink type thought. :)

What wine would you recommend with this dish?

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Your kitchen sounds like ours. I love when my husband sits at the counter and we talk while I cook. This dinner sounds fabulous. Tell your husband "job well done."

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Valentines sounds just perfect!
I do love it when something can be put together with wine in hand and my husband sits with me.

Dana said...

I don't think there's a single thing in the title of that recipe that I don't absolutely love. YUM.

Tartelette said...

Your kitchen set up sounds perfect! Can you believe that after 10 years of marriage, he stil can't cook and can't speak my native tongue...but he can fi anything so that's fair trade in my book!
What an awesome dish for Christmas Eve...now I am thinking Valentine's Day!

Brilynn said...

I want a pretty kitchen!
And then I want to eat lobster in it, sounds fantastic!

Julie said...

I have to say that Mike is very pleased with his "fan mail." I didn't mean to sound braggy about my kitchen...it's so small that the microwave is on top of the refrigerator. But I do like it. If anyone tries this recipe, let me know if you like it! We can't wait to have it again.