Summer Lobster and Corn Rigatoni
This summer seafood pasta combines some of my favorite East coast flavors into one dish. I love the pairing of tender lobster meat with succulent and sweet New Jersey corn and tomatoes; it reminds me of our annual lobster boil we do on the 4th of July each year. My dad orders lobsters from Boston and has them delivered right to our front door. We get sweet corn from one of the farms down the road. New Jersey is called the “Garden state” for a reason – around my house there are tons of rolling green hills and local farms with fresh produce. The lobster, corn and tomatoes are combined with al dente rigatoni and tossed in a light Cheddar cream sauce and topped with fresh chopped basil.
It’s amazing what using high-quality ingredients can do for recipes. Spending just a bit more money for pasta is worth the extra few bucks. One of my favorite brands is Setaro -it’s an Italian brand and is sometimes hard to find. My family refers to it colloquially as “the good pasta” and it’s saved for use in worthy pasta recipes. My dad used to pick up armfuls of packages of Setaro every time he passed Chelsea Market in New York City. Good pasta is definitely worth a more expensive price tag.
3 to 4 medium Maine lobster tails
1 pound rigatoni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium shallot, diced
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 medium ears corn, kernels sliced off the cob, about 2 cups
1½ halved grape tomatoes
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Add the lobster tails and cook until the shells turn bright red and the meat is tender and pulls away from the shell easily, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lobster tails and set aside then bring the water back to a rolling boil. Cut the shells of the tails lengthwise down the middle and remove the meat. Roughly chop the meat and set it aside.
Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water then drain and return the pasta to the pot.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of the butter and allow to melt. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and heat, stirring frequently until simmering and whisk in the cheese. Continue to whisk until the cheese has melted then remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining butter and allow to melt. Add the corn and cook until the kernels are tender about 5 minutes then add the tomatoes and cook until they burst, about 3 minutes.
Toss the pasta in the cream sauce, adding some of the pasta water if needed until all the noodles are coated. Stir in the tomatoes and corn and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed pasta bowls and top with lobster tail meat and basil.