Cooking with Calley P: Lobster Linguine

Calley Prezzano is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef who has made a career in fine dining cuisine, emphasizing fresh & local products from the area. In this blog for The Nicaragua Dispatch, Chef Calley shares recipes that make cooking in Nicaragua an adventure for all five senses. This week: lobster spaghetti

I’ve had Nicaraguan Spaghetti. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into at the time. The recipe is straightforward.

First, break the long spaghetti into three parts (always three parts). Then cook until pretty far beyond al dente. Meanwhile, fry up the tiniest bit of tomato, onion and chiltoma. Stir in plenty of Natura brand ketchup and maybe a bit of crema acida as well. ¡Hecho! I know that this plate is a tipico comfort food that most everyone around me has grown up with, but I still prefer gallo pinto over Nicaraguan spaghetti.

Making pasta in Nicaragua (photo / Calley P)

For me, when it comes to cooking pasta for loved ones, I turn to a simple dish made with two never-fail ingredients: fresh lobster and lots of butter! This dish transforms any meal into a special occasion!

An aside about garlic: If your garlic has sprouted in the center, it’s in your best interest to remove this green stem before chopping- it can be too pungent and often bitter. If you’re lazy or forget, okay, that’s fine, it’s not that pungent or bitter. But honestly, this dish is simple enough that it should be made with only high-quality ingredients.

It is also important not to burn garlic. Garlic becomes more potent the finer it is chopped, and also releases more oils, which in turn makes for lower burning tolerance. The aroma of cooking garlic can plummet from a heavenly scent to agonizingly bitter fumes in a matter of seconds. This normally occurs when you take a phone call or pour another glass of wine while cooking.

How to avoid this problem? First, pay attention to what you’re doing. Ask someone to bring you another cocktail instead of making it yourself. No talking or texting on the cellphone with friends while cooking. When it’s cooked over a low flame, the garlic sweetens and the texture melts- ¡que rico!

I love cooking this dish for friends. It is fast to prepare, requires very few ingredients, and all the necessary ingredients are readily available in any beachside pulperia. Lobster pasta is always a crowd pleaser. I’ve made it for family, friends, and restaurant staff, too! Even when I think he is out of town, Mateo always seems to appear when I am plating it up, at home or at work.

Everyone, even my vegetarian friends, loves lobster. If this is not true in your case, it may be time to cast a larger net (lobster trap pun unnecessary) for some new friends. Alriiiight, unless they’re allergic and would prefer not to overuse an Epi-pen. Their loss.

Also, if you can get your hands on fresh pasta, I highly recommend picking it up or making it yourself. It is so choice.

Simply Lobster  Linguine

2 sticks butter, divided

The kitchen crew at La Finca y El Mar Restaurant in Rancho Santana prepare to dig in

1/4 cup olive oil

1 head garlic, chopped fine

1 and 1/2 pounds lobster tails, meat removed from the tail, cut into 4-6 pieces each

2 cups white wine

1 pound dry pasta, cooked

4 tomatoes, diced small

1/2 cup chopped parsley

grated parmesan for garnish

 

  1. In a large sauteuse or pot with sides over medium-low heat, melt 1 stick of butter with the olive oil. Add the garlic and let simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add lobster and stir until coated. Pour in wine and bring mixture to a boil. Lower the heat again and simmer until almost all reduced. Add the second stick of butter and remove from heat.
  2. Stir in pasta, tomatoes and parsley, add salt and pepper to taste.

 Pair with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc and serve with a mixed green salad. Boom.

 serves 4-6.

 

Calley Prezzano was classically trained in San Francisco, California. She has cooked in Michelin Star Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the founding Executive Chef of Jicaro Ecolodge in Granada, Nicaragua. She is the founding Executive Chef of La Finca y El Mar Restaurant in Rancho Santana in Tola, Nicaragua. (lafincayelmar.com)

 

  • Nica Tomas

    I always make it a point to stop in at Rancho Santana’s La Finca y El Mar just to enjoy one of Calley’s incredibly delicious dinners…and I often just ask her to prepare her favorite choice for me based entirely on what is the freshest and most memorable creations she thinks I would enjoy that evening…and it always turns out to be the best meal of my entire trip. And I would put Calley and her modern kitchen and trained staff up against any in Nicaragua as well as most American and Canadian restaurants! Delicious food presented in a beautiful surrounding at Rancho Santana…usually right at sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
    Please keep the recipes coming in future articles…
    I can’t wait to try and prepare the lobster linguine at home!

  • Robert

    Although it is more work, the discarded lobster shells and other bits make a fragrant and flavorful stock. Whenever I use lobster meat I make a stock and reduce it down then freeze whatever I don’t use for later use in other dishes. Discarded shrimp shells also hold a tremendous amount of flavor that can be incorporated as a stock into pasta or rice dishes. For people concerned about consuming butter it is a handy way to boost the flavor of a dish without adding extra fat.

  • Calley

    thanks for the compliment, Nica Tomas!

    Robert, The included recipe is one that can be created in under 30 minutes, which is part of it’s beauty.
    I agree that a lobster stock would be a great addition to this meal, sounds delicious! If you have the time and the know-how, it is a great way to use all of the parts of the shellfish.
    Another idea would be to save the shells from this meal and create a stock the next day, turn it into a tasty shellfish broth!