Lobster Fra Diavolo Recipe

The key to this spicy pasta is cooking the lobster shells low and slow in a savory tomato sauce before tossing it with chunks of fresh lobster and spaghetti.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes


2 ½ pounds|1130 grams plum tomatoes
4 large lobster tails (about 1 ¾ pounds|800 grams)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¾ teaspoon chile flakes
5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
½ cup|130 grams tomato paste
¼ cup|60 ml cognac
1 ½ cups|375 ml seafood or chicken stock
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound|454 grams spaghetti 
freshly minced parsley, to serve



  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Score the bottoms of each tomato and remove the core. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute (the skins will begin to peel away) then, using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl of prepared ice water. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins. Quarter and remove the seeds, then roughly chop the tomatoes. 
  2. Split the lobster tails lengthwise and remove the meat. Chop into ½-inch pieces and refrigerate until ready to use. Cut the shells into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the chile flakes, garlic, and onion and season with salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the lobster shells and cook until they start to change color to bright red, 7 to 8 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, then deglaze with the cognac. Cook until reduced and thick, about 30 seconds, then stir in the prepared tomatoes and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low, partially covered and stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. 
  4. Using tongs, remove and discard the lobster shells. Remove the lid and cook until thick, about 25 minutes more. Keep warm. 
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package instructions, then drain. 
  6. Toss the reserved lobster meat into the sauce and cook until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes, then toss in the cooked pasta and season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Divide among bowls and top with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and crank on some more black pepper, then serve.

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