I'm not sure, but I think the term fra diavolo comes from a famous Italian bandit and soldier, who went by the name Fra Diavolo (friar devil) who was captured and hung by the French in 1806. My guess is that since Sig. Diavolo (his real name was Michele Pezza) was such a provocative guy, his name got attached to spicy dishes. This dish, a very traditional one from the area called Maremma, is all about heat. If your palate is less fireproof than mine, cut down on the red pepper.
WINE SUGGESTION: I like the freshness of a Chardonnay or fizzy white wine with this dish; if you want a light red, the maker Enrico Fossi has a nice one called Sangioveto.
- 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 Onion, roughly chopped
- 1 Celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 3 1 1/4-Pound lobsters
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
- 3 cup canned whole tomatoes, with their juice, pureed (You can use canned pureed tomatoes, but I think the whole ones are less acidic and of higher quality.)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound of spaghetti
- Fill a large stockpot with water and add the carrot, onion, celery, and salt to taste. Bring the water to a boil and add the lobsters. As soon as the water returns to a boil, remove the lobsters from the pot and let cool. Reserve the lobster cooking water.
- When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and cut it into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Return the shells to the lobster cooking water and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the olive oil. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley and sauté over medium heat until the garlic begins to color and is very aromatic.
- Add the wine and brandy and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups of the lobster cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is al dente. Drain.
- Add the pasta to the tomato sauce and simmer 1 to 2 minutes, adding a little of the reserved lobster cooking water if needed. Stir in the lobster meat and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve immediately, using the lobster shells.
About Cesare Casella
Cesare Casella is the Executive Chef and Partner of Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, with locations in New York City on the Upper West Side (283 Amsterdam Avenue) and the newly opened Upper East Side location (903 Madison Avenue).