Dinner

By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | October 4, 2011

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Ryan and I have an affinity for fresh ingredients and this dinner couldn’t have been any fresher. I’m a long-time reader of Mark Bittman’s now-defunct Minimalist column in The New York Times and frequently search the archives for dinner inspiration.

This week’s meal, a pasta dish with lobster and mint, was inspired both by Bittman and a dish at Mario Batali’s southern Italian seafood restaurant Esca. In addition to being delicious, it involves no more than three ingredients-two of which you probably have in your pantry already. The third ingredient might require a trip to the market-I wasn’t lying when I said this meal was fresh.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

We walked up to Lobster Place in Chelsea Market to pick out our lobster-a hefty 1 3/4-pound fellow. While buying a live lobster might seem daunting, it’s not too traumatizing and really adds to the final quality of the dish, as the pasta cooks in the water used to steam the lobster. Outside of the lobster, this dish only requires linguine and mint. (And pantry staples of garlic, olive oil, salt and red chili flakes.)

The combination of mint and lobster is stunningly refreshing for summer, particularly with the added kick from the red pepper flakes. While this dinner certainly isn’t something you can whip up with leftovers, it’s well worth the additional effort for a special meal, or just an everyday meal for a lobster lover like me.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Adapted from Mark Bittman

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff.

For more amazing recipes from Laura and Ryan, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

  • 1 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 -pound live lobster
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 lb linguine
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put about an inch of water into another large pot, add a not-too-big pinch of salt, put in lobster and cover pot. Steam lobster until it is red, about 3 minutes; you do not have to cook it through. Remove it and keep water simmering with cover off.

2. As soon as you can, remove lobster's tail and claws; return body to simmering liquid. Remove meat from claws and tail and return shells to pot; chop meat roughly.

3. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and lobster meat and toss; cook until it sizzles, then add chili flakes and lower heat. Strain lobster-cooking water, discarding body and shells; you will want a couple of cups.

4. Meanwhile, cook pasta until it is not even close to tender, but just bending. Drain it, reserving some cooking liquid if you have less than 2 cups of lobster liquid. Add pasta to lobster/garlic mixture, with about a cup of lobster liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, adding more liquid as necessary. Stop cooking when pasta is tender, taking care not to add too much liquid.

5. Taste and add more salt, chili flakes or olive oil if you like. Stir in the mint and serve.

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