Linguine All’astice


  • 200 g dried linguine
  • 1 small live lobster (about 500 g)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed dried chilli flakes
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 200 ml light tomato sauce (just use tomato passata or puréed raw tomato at a pinch)


Kill the lobster by splitting it down the middle – head end first, then the tail. If you’re squeamish, numb it in the freezer for 15 minutes, then plunge into boiling water for 3 minutes to half-cook it, but the apparently brutal method with a knife is actually the more merciful (especially if you use the freezer trick first). And you’ll still have to split the lobster in half, anyway.

Prepare and cut the lobster. Rinse out any brown meat under cold running water, pulling out the sac behind the eyes and discarding it. Trim off the front 2cm of shell (with eyes and antennae attached) and discard. Also throw away the gills (dead man’s fingers), which you can pull out with your fingers from between the tops of the legs and the outer shell. Cut the body (aka the ‘head’) and tail into nice chunks. Pull off the claws and the ‘knuckles’ that attach them to the body and crack open with a knife to make eating easier a little later on. Do not peel the flesh from the shell – the shell not only adds to the look of the dish, but flavours the sauce.

Put your pasta on to boil. About 4 or 5 minutes before it’s done, heat a wide pan, add the oil, and fry the lobster for 2 minutes without stirring much. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for 30 seconds more, then the wine, followed by the tomato. Cook together, stirring around, until the lobster is cooked through. The sauce should stay a little saucy – add a splash of the pasta water if it dries out. Drain the pasta (slightly under-done, as ever) and add to the sauce. Cook together until the sauce coats and the pasta is only pleasantly al dente. Serve immediately.