Bucatini with lobster, basil and spicy tomato sauce prepared by Chef Julian Marucci at Baltimore restaurant Pazo.
Bucatini with lobster, basil and spicy tomato sauce prepared by Chef Julian Marucci at Baltimore restaurant Pazo. (Photo by Matt Hazlett / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Over the summer, Harbor East favorite Pazo shifted its focus from Spanish food to Italian, featuring dishes like this spicy lobster pasta. Pairing freshly cooked lobster with Fresno chili-spiked tomato sauce, Chef Julian Marucci creates a fabulous special occasion dish that's easy to re-create at home.

Marucci makes good use of the whole lobster, incorporating the cooked shells to create stock that infuses tomato sauce with the crustacean's unique flavor. The addition of hot Fresno pepper gives the sauce extra -- and welcome -- verve.

Bucatini with Lobster, Basil and Spicy Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

4 1-pound lobsters
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot
1 bay leaf
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Fresno chili pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 quart tomato sauce
2 pounds bucatini pasta (a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole through the center)
4 to 6 leaves basil, torn
Salt to taste

Note: The lobsters may be cooked at home or may be steamed at the store where purchased.

To cook lobsters at home:
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Fill a nearby sink or large bowl with ice water.

2. Cook the live lobsters, in batches, for five minutes each. Do not try to cook all the lobsters at once; they should be cooked in batches to keep the water boiling.

3. After five minutes, remove the cooked lobsters from the pot, place them in the ice water bath and run cold water over them to cool them as quickly as possible.

After cooking the lobsters:
1. Clean and remove all lobster meat from the tail, claws and knuckles. Cut the meat into large pieces and keep cold.

2. Place the lobster shells, carrot, onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf in a large pot. Add enough cold water to barely cover the shells. Place over medium heat and simmer until about one-quarter of the liquid remains. Strain, reserving the liquid.

3. Into another pot, pour just enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

4. Place over low heat and add the chopped Fresno chili. (If you like spicy foods, add the chili's seeds.)

5. Add the whole garlic clove and cook on low heat with the pepper. Remove the garlic as it begins to color, after about two to three minutes.

6. With the pot still on low heat, add the tomato sauce.

7. Add the strained lobster stock to the pot with the tomato sauce. Cook for one hour over low heat.

8. Cook the pasta in salted water for the time indicated on the box, minus two minutes. (The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.)

9. Taste the sauce, and add salt to taste.

10. Add the lobster meat and torn basil leaves to the sauce.

11. Strain the pasta, and add it to the tomato sauce, cooking for an additional two minutes to finish the pasta and allow it to absorb flavor from the sauce.

12. Taste again and, if necessary, add salt.

13. Divide into four to six portions and serve.

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