Lobster and Summer Pea Pasta

This is a quintessential summer dish and is best when you can get fresh peas and pea sprouts.  You can make it much more quickly and easily if you can get the lobsters boiled by your fish market or supermarket.


2   1 1/4 to 1 1/2  lb. lobsters

1 lb. gemelli pasta

2-3 lbs of fresh peas in pods (or 1 to 1 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen peas)

1 t. kosher salt

1 T. good quality olive oil

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 T. parmigian cheese, grated – plus additional to serve at the table

1  handful of pea sprouts or tendrils (optional)

freshly ground black pepper


  1.  If you can get the lobsters cooked by your market, do so.  You can bring them home either warm or cold–it will make no difference.  If you cannot get them cooked, place two inches of water in the bottom of a tall pot (a pasta pot works perfectly) and bring to a boil over medium high heat.   Move off the heat briefly and add the lobsters, covering the pot and returning to the heat to steam for 12-14  minutes until the lobsters are bright red and fully cooked.  Immediately remove from pot but do not discard any remaining steaming liquid.  (Do remove any steaming rack, if one is used.) Allow lobsters and the steaming liquid to cool.
  2. Separate the lobster meat from the shell.  Remove large claws, knuckles and tail from the body. Rinse out any green/tan material from the end of the tail (it is the liver) and the dark vein that runs down the center back of the tail (the intestine).  If there is a hard red substance at the tip of the tail, save this (it is the roe from a female lobster) Break the large claws and remove the meat to a bowl.  Do the same with the claws and the tail.  If not making the dish immediately, place bowl of lobster meat covered tightly with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. (This can be done through step   a day or two ahead.)
  3. Place the shells from the claws, knuckles and tail along with any roe you have saved in the pot with the steaming water .  Add the small legs from the lobster bodies (you can also add the bodies if you remove the heads, but this may be too much effort for the small increase in flavor that results), as well as 2 quarts of water and 1/2 to 1 t. of salt and bring to a boil.  Boil the shells covered for 15-20 minutes to extract their flavor.  At the end of that time, remove the cover, take out and discard the shells and allow the liquid to reduce by at least 1/4 and up to 1/2.  You will have more lobster stock than you need, but it is great as the basis for any seafood or fish soup or chowder and can be frozen for later use.
  4. Remove the lobster stock from the pot reserving about 1/2 cup for use in this recipe, and clean out the pot to cook the pasta.
  5. Bring the pasta pot filled with clean salted, water to a boil over medium high heat.  While the water is boiling, remove the lobster meat from the refrigerator, if necessary.
  6. If using fresh peas, at the same time bring a smaller pot of water to boil over medium high heat.  When boiling, add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until just barely tender.  Remove and set aside.  If using frozen peas, remove from the freezer allow to begin to thaw on the counter.
  7. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain immediately when it is al dente.
  8. Place 1 T. of olive oil in the warm pasta pot and return the pasta to the pot.  Add the reserved lobster stock, cooked lobster meat, fresh or frozen peas and stir to combine.
  9.  Turn the heat to medium low, just to warm everything through.  This should take 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add the cream, 3 T. of grated parmigian and the black pepper and stir to throughly coat the pasta and lobster.
  11. Serve garnished with pea sprouts tor tendrils, if using, and more parmigian.