I tried looking it up in the dictionary but there doesn’t seem to be an English equivalent for the Italian lobster known as ‘astice’. An astice is most definitely a lobster but it is very very small compared with any other kind of lobster I have come across. Indeed, it was its mini size that prompted me to want to make a pasta sauce with it. That and the fact that the astice in question had most recently given up its ghost and was resting on some crushed ice at the fishmonger’s.
Here is the astice, minus one claw, in my kitchen, once I’d brought it home.
I put some water onto the boil, adding celery and carrot and a bit of parsely …
I placed the astice in the water when it started simmering and left it there for … actually, I can’t remember for how long! but not very long, I didn’t want to overcook it. So, I suppose, it would have been somewhere around 8-10 minutes.
I then removed the astice from the simmering water.
I now added a bayleaf and some mussels to the water … I wanted to make a decent stock and thought the mussels would add a je ne sais quoi.
Once the mussels opened up, I removed them from the stock and set them aside to be eaten in a separate dish.
I then proceeded to peel the astice and, as you can see for yourself, there wasn’t much flesh to speak of. One astice is just about enough to make pasta for two people, three at a pinch.
I plopped a few tomatoes into the stock, just for a minute, enough to make the skin easy to peel off.
I peeled and de-seeded the tomatoes and chopped them.
I put some garlic in a saucepan replete with olive oil and a couple of peppercorns. I swiched the heat on and cooked the garlic until just about golden.
I now added the chopped tomatoes, as well as some salt and pepper, and left the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
I then removed the carapace of the astice from the stock, as well as all the vegetables. The stock was now ready to cook the spaghetti.
I added salt to the stock when it came to the boil and waited for it to boil again before plunging the spaghetti into it.
When the spaghetti were about 3 minutes away to the end of cooking time, I removed them from the boiling stock and placed them directly into the saucepan with the tomato sauce.
I added some of the stock to finish off the spaghetti’s cooking, one ladleful at a time, and as much as was required.
I added some parsley towards the very end … when the spaghetti had soaked up most of the sauce.
And here it was ready to be served.
I placed the astice on top of the spaghetti and gave the dish one final drizzle of olive oil. I’m afraid these are not very good photos and do little to make the dish look appetising. Too bad because the spaghetti all’astice turned out to be very good indeed.