Carriage House Chef-Owner Kelly Farrin claims this recipe as one of his favorite lobster and pasta combinations. The dish is a simple one using lobster, pasta, cream and lemon. Chef Farrin has refined it to a chef’s palate using a sous vide technique whereby the lobster meat, vacuum-packed in a pouch with lemon and herbs, is cooked very slowly in warm water before being added to the sauce. The challenge is in the execution (see below for sous vide at home).
½ cup kosher salt
2 whole Maine lobsters
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 sprigs thyme
12 whole chives, chopped
6 lemon slices
½ cup mascarpone cheese
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 ounces uncooked pappardelle pasta
2 cups lobster stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup steamed English peas
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
12 Ritz crackers, crushed
Chopped herbs for garnish
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a gallon of water seasoned with ½ cup kosher salt to a rolling boil. Drop the lobsters into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Once the lobsters are cooked, plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Shuck the lobster meat from the shells.
Place the lobster meat in a vacuum-seal bag with 4 tablespoons butter, thyme, chives and lemon slices. Seal the bag. Finish cooking the lobster for 1 hour in circulating water bath set at 134° F. Remove lobster and juices from the bag and set aside. Discard thyme stems and lemon slices.
To make the pasta sauce, whisk mascarpone cheese with lemon juice and zest. Set aside.
Combine 4 tablespoons each of butter and flour in a small sauce pot. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly until a very light brown paste forms. Remove this roux from heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop the pasta into it.
As the pasta cooks, make the bechamel sauce. Pour lobster stock into a large sauté pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the reserved roux to pan and stir slowly until sauce begins to thicken. Whisk lemon mascarpone and heavy cream sauce until incorporated. Add lobster meat, herbs and juices to the pan and cook on low heat. Add peas and half of the grated Parmesan cheese. Gently fold the ingredients together as they warm.
Once the pasta is tender, remove from boiling water and toss with the sauce in the same pan. Cook on low heat for a few minutes, until sauce coats the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use tongs to transfer the mixture to two warm bowls. Arrange the pasta on the bottom and lobster on the top in each bowl. Spoon half of the sauce over the top of each dish. Garnish with cracker crumbs, remaining Parmesan cheese and chopped herbs. Serve hot.
Sous Vide at Home
Food cooked sous vide—simmered very low and slow in vacuum-sealed plastic bags—becomes incredibly moist and flavorful, which is why the process is favored by chefs. To do sous vide at home, you need a method for sealing the bags (like the gadget you would use to vacuum-seal items headed for the freezer) and a means by which you can keep water in a vessel circulating and held at a steady temperature between 75° and 200° F.
The three-in-one tools favored by chefs provide a thermometer, heater and water pump to circulate the water in the cooking vessel to which it’s attached, but also cost $800 new. There is one of these available to borrow at the Maine Tool Library in Portland (http://portlandmainetoollibrary.org/). There are countertop water ovens that do all three jobs, are about the size of a bread machine and cost around $450. More affordable three-in-one tools made for home use, like the Anova Precision Cooker Farrin recommends, retail for $180.
Using a pot fitted with a candy thermometer is a great way to try the sous vide technique without making any investment. But this method works best for recipes that take less than an hour, because the water temperature requires monitoring and a bit of stirring to keep it circulating.
Carriage House Restaurant
Owner-Chef Kelly Farrin
388 Ocean Point Road
East Boothbay, Maine 04544