I made this garlicky lobster pasta for Mike and I and it was amazing, if I do say so myself. The other day, Mike randomly came home with two cooked lobsters. “Surprise!” he said. We LOVE lobster but hardly ever buy it or eat it at home.
I have made lobster before (lobster risotto, creamy lobster pasta, and a steak and lobster sandwich) but it’s just not one of the things that comes to mind when we’re thinking of dinner. I don’t know why because it’s actually easy to cook and is super impressive and delicious.
This lobster pasta is essentially an aglio e olio with a secret ingredient. It’s loaded with pieces of lobster and finished with crunchy bread crumbs. The lobster is tossed in at the last minute, just to heat it through and get all those garlicky umami flavors on it without overwhelming the sweet flavor of the lobster meat. It comes together super quickly, like most pasta dishes. Grab some cooked lobster tails, and you have a quick, easy, impressive date night dish.
How to make garlic lobster pasta
- Prep the ingredients: toast the breadcrumbs, chop the parsley, shell and chop the lobster into bite size pieces.
- Cook your pasta in salted boiling water, timing it so it cooks one minute less than what the box considers al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, warm extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add sliced garlic and let it infuse the oil, softening but not browning.
- After the garlic is super aromatic and soft, stir in the crushed red pepper, parsley and oyster sauce, making sure everything is mixed together.
- Use a 1/3 measuring cup and scoop some of the starchy pasta water and add it to the pan with the garlic. Bring it up to a simmer, stirring and emulsifying the sauce.
- When the pasta is ready, use a pair of tongs to transfer it over to the pan with the sauce.
- Add in the lobster and toss everything until it is glossy with sauce, adding extra pasta water if needed.
- Finish with the breadcrumbs and extra parsley and enjoy immediately!
How to plate lobster pasta
Everyone always says you eat with your eyes first and it is true, especially with this pasta. You put in the effort to make it, so make it extra pretty on the plate! Grab two shallow, large-ish bowls (these are commonly called pasta bowls). For extra bonus points, warm them in the oven.
When the pasta is ready, use a pair of tongs to divide the pasta, along with chunks for lobster, evenly into the two bowls. Make sure to scoop up any extra bits of sauce or slices of garlic and add them to the tops of the noodles. Reserve some of the pieces of lobster for the top. Finish with fresh parsley and breadcrumbs then enjoy immediately!
- Extra virgin olive oil – use the good stuff because you deserve it. First cold press is best and as a rule of thumb, go for a dark or opaque bottle because olive oil doesn’t like being in the light.
- Breadcrumbs – toasted breadcrumbs add crunch and texture. I like grabbing the ends of sourdough and blitzing them in a food processor and cooking the coarse crumbs in olive oil until they’re almost deep fried and completely caramelized and golden.
- Flat leaf parsley – an underrated ingredient! I feel like a lot of people think flat leaf parsley is there just for garnish. But it adds a huge hit of freshness and when you cook it in oil it deepens the flavor. I love this sauce because it has parsley cooked in olive oil and it finishes the pasta for a hit of freshness.
- Spaghetti or other long pasta – I like the simplicity of spaghetti with this dish but of course there is a huge variety of long pastas out there. If you’re going to make your own, this is the perfect recipe to pair with fresh pasta https://iamafoodblog.com/how-to-make-fresh-pasta-the-easy-way-our-almost-no-knead-pasta-recipe/. If you’re buying it, go for a bronze extruded pasta with a rough surface that will help the sauce catch and cling.
- Crushed red pepper flakes – a little (or big, depending on your spice tolerance) of crushed red peppers that will bloom in the oil and impart a bit of warmth and spice.
- Oyster sauce – this is the secret ingredient that adds a huge amount of umami and seafood flavor to the sauce. It’s sweet and thick and full of complexity. More on oyster sauce below.
- Lobster – you can go with whole cooked lobster or cooked lobster tails or even cook your own whole lobster or tails if you’re comfortable with that!
Oyster sauce can be found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store or online. If you see the Lee Kum Kee bottle with the two people in boats, go for that one. It’s the premium oyster sauce which lists oysters as its first ingredient. It doesn’t taste super seafood-y but it definitely adds an extra oomph to this sauce that you won’t be able to put your finger on.
Where can you buy lobster?
Mike got these PEI lobsters from a local vendor who cooked them after he picked them out of the case. Most places that sell live seafood can and will cook your lobster for you – if you’re ever on the East coast, all the grocery stores do it for a small fee. If you’re somewhere like Whole Foods they often sell already cooked lobster tails just waiting in the case for you to purchase. If they have fresh lobster tails, it’s just a quick poach in simmering water for 6-8 minutes. The tails will turn bright red and curl up when they’re cooked.
How to easily remove lobster meat
The easiest way to remove lobster tail meat is to think of it like a large shrimp or prawn. Use a pair of scissors to cut through the the bottom then pull the shell off and release the tail meat.
If you happened to get a whole lobster, you can remove the meat from the claws and the knuckles as well. Youtube is your friend – there are so many videos on how to break down a whole lobster.
Pro tip: don’t throw away the shells. Keep them and make a lobster stock and use it as the base stock for any soup you want to add a deep seafood flavor too. Just cover the shells with water and simmer, covered, on low for 2 hours or place in a crock pot, cover with water and a lid and turn the pot onto high.
What to serve with lobster pasta
Garlic Lobster Pasta
The best aglio e olio base lobster pasta loaded with pieces of lobster and finished with crunchy bread crumbs and a secret ingredient.
- 4 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs coarse, see note
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- 6 ounces spaghetti
- 1 head garlic sliced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 lobster cooked, shelled and roughly chopped, about 1-1.5lbs
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan and toast the breadcrumbs until golden and crunchy. Remove from the heat and stir in a pinch of parsley. Set aside.
In a pot of salted water, cook the spaghetti one minute shy of al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat up the remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and slightly soft, but not brown, 20 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the red pepper flakes, flat leaf parsley, and oyster sauce. Add 1/3 cup pasta water to the pan and bring to a simmer to emulsify into a sauce, stirring occasionally.
When the pasta is ready, use a pair of tongs to move the cooked pasta over to the pan with the sauce. Leave the heat on medium, add the lobster and toss to combine, until the sauce is glossy and clings to the noodles. Add extra pasta water if the pasta gets too dry.
Finish with toasted bread crumbs and enjoy!
Note: I like to blitz up old sourdough bread in the food processor for fresh, coarse crumbs.
Garlic Lobster Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 290
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 4.6g29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.