Somewhat recently a new fishmonger opened shop near our apartment, and when we popped by most recently, they had delicious looking, shelled lobster. I also happened to have a hankering for fra diavolo and so we decided to get the lobster and the lobster stock they had on hand.
There are quite a few recipes out there for fra diavolo, and most were either for a generic seafood medley (which we felt wouldn’t highlight flavors from the lobster) or just in photos looked totally different from what we’ve always seen when we (rarely) ordered lobster fra diavolo in restaurants. It was also surprising how many recipes for specifically “lobster” fra diavolo called for Cognac or some variation of brandy. When we asked our friendly local fishmonger about this, he mentioned that apparently lobster and brandy are considered a classic taste pairing. He also noted that he had tried lobster fra diavolo both with and without the brandy and didn’t seem to know the difference.
The recipe that we finally decided appeared to be the closest to the fra diavolos of memory was this one from Saveur. Given the cost of the lobster and the stock, we figured we would go all in and made the recipe with some Armagnac, and we would argue that you really could taste it in the sauce. It turned out fantastic, and if you can moderate the amount of chili pepper flakes for the “spicy” levels.
- Heat oil in an 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chile flakes, oregano, and garlic to pot; cook until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomato paste; cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.
- Add cognac; cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add stock, tomatoes, and bay leaf; boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, partially covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes.
- Add lobster to pot; cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta; toss with sauce.
- Transfer to a large serving platter; sprinkle with parsley.
Adapted from Saveur Lobster Fra Diavolo.