Thursday, September 18

How to Make Lobster Fra Diavolo

lobster back view

Lobster's back.

First there was creamy lobster risotto. Now it's Lobster Fra Diavolo, a treasured Italian-American dish characterized by a spicy sauce for pasta or seafood. Fra Diavolo, was the king of pasta in the 1990's. (I know this because it was Jeff's favorite entree to order at a "nice" restaurant when we were dating.)

The last time Jeff ate lobster fra diavolo, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was a number one hit. Though Jeff will always love lobster fra diavolo, he doesn't feel similarly toward Whitney, so I decided not to invite her to our lobster dinner. I asked Frank, our oldest and dearest crooner, to come instead, because Italian food always tastes better with ol' blue eyes.

lobster fra right 2

Lobster Fra Diavolo
Serves 2
Print recipe only here.

1 (1.25 pound) live lobster
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt, to taste
1/4 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot (big enough to submerge the lobster completely) of salted water to a boil. To kill the lobster, hold a butcher knife over its head, about an inch behind its eyes; puncture and slice forward in one motion. Plunge the lobster head first into the boiling water for 7-8 minutes. The shell should be bright red, though the meat will finish cooking in the risotto. Remove the lobster from the pot, rinse, and allow to cool.

To remove the meat, twist off the claws; crack them open with nut crackers, and extract the meat. Bend the lobster's body back from the tail until it cracks; remove it. Then push the tail meat out. Crack the lobster body open and break off the legs; use a skewer to push the meat out of the legs.

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine and crushed red pepper. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes, or until al dente, fully cooked yet firm to the bite.

Add the lobster meat to the sauce and toss well. Heat through 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss well. Turn off heat. Stir in the fresh herbs and season with salt. Garnish with additional fresh herbs and serve immediately.

You might also like:

Grilled Lobster (there's a video!)

Individual Pesto Lasagnas

Penne with Fresh Ricotta and Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

Penne with Italian-American "Gravy," Meatballs, and Sausage

Hey! Today is the last day to enter for your chance to win FREE Kona Kampachi fish from Hawaii!
here for details.

Save This Page on


Rosie said...

Lobster Fra Diavolo - this dish looks really divine!! I hang my head in shame here but have never cooked live lobster before.

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

i will gladly scarf down massive quantities of any seafood cooked al diavolo, and that is multipled by a factor of 20 if the seafood in question is lobster.

i crap out and buy steamed, shelled lobster meat from the fishmonger, though...can't bring myself to kill the little buggers in my kitchen.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I am so hungry after reading this. I have some lump crabmeat in the fridge and might make this with that since I can't always get great lobsters.

Manggy said...

Oh, WOW! Look at that! Fantastic. Fra Diablo (shrimp though, not lobster) is a family favorite here-- usually ordered when we're out.

I don't think Whitney would have appreciated delicious, gorgeous food anyway. Wink wink.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Oooh! That plate of pasta would sure hit the spot right now! Looks fantastic! This dish is a favorite of ours too, although I often use shrimp instead for convenience (and frugality).

Anonymous said...

drool....I always order this whenever it's on the menu at Italian restaurants. This looks simply delish!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

I've never been a big fan of lobster, Susan. Too much work for too little payoff for me. But with this enticing recipe and michelle's brilliant idea of buying steamed, shelled lobster meat, I could become a convert. One thing you don't need to convert me to, though, is Francis Albert Sinatra. I'm a big fan. I love his album nice ’n’ easy.

Maria said...

I love lobster but have never made it at home. Thanks for posting this! I think I will venture out sometime and try it!

Heather said...

yummy :) that's one lucky husband! and i agree, italian is ALWAYS better with old blue eyes :)

Nora B. said...

Oh Susan, I wish i could have a BIG plate of that right now.

p/s: I'm glad you went with Frank ;-)

The Italian Dish said...

Much better choice in Frank! He would have loved this dish. Looks great!

Anonymous said...

Fra diavolo is the best. My first experience was in Boston's north end during college and it was with calamari. Ever since I am hooked. Lobster would be divine.

Debbie said...

Your lobster fra diavlo looks delicious. I like anything fra diavlo....shrimp are great that way too!!!!!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Gorgeous lobster dish the whole combination. As for Whitney...

Anonymous said...

You could always invite Bobby over...or not. Lovely dish Susan.


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I've only cooked lobster in culinary class with "adult supervision." What a beautiful, fresh dish!

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

This beautiful bowl of pasta, WITH LOBSTERS, makes my stomach growl and my heart sing. (Hopefully in tune with each other.)

Anonymous said...

Wow....getting fancy, are we? This looks so great. I'll have to try this sometime. Maybe even surprise my husband!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That lobster boy is a show stopper and so is your pasta.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This brings back memories, of dinners in New York's Little Italy in my younger dating days. It's been way too long since my last Lobster Fra Diavolo.

Vijitha said...

U have made me crave for this....lovely pic n yummmy recipe...thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

Looks great, kiddo ;)

Peter M said...

There's somethin about the juices from the lobster that when mixed with a tomato sauce, something heavenly (or Hell, fra Diavolo) comes about!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I've never had this before but it looks like something I'd love. If only we got decent lobster down here...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love that first picture! A gorgeous dish! I bet it taste extremely good!



Kajal@aapplemint said...

woa .. the first pic nearly jumped out at me ! we get live lobsters here , and i know this guy who eats them fresh n raw. Yup just kills em, peels em and swallows them like oysters. Maybe u should make ur hubby try it that way :P

Lori Lynn said...

Lobster's back. You are so CLEVER Susan.
Darling post, as usual.
What singer is Jeff diggin' these days?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this looks so decadent. I love it!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love dishes that have great memories behind them:D

Proud Italian Cook said...

Lobster cooked fra Diavolo, and Frank? Oh girl! Be still my heart!

Gattina Cheung said...

how wonderful your writing (plus photography, recipe, the list goes on and on) is!

Coffee and Vanilla said...


I was never brave enough to try lobster, and I wouldn't be able to prepare it, especially if it would be still alive... but if someone would prepare such a tasty looking dish, I would proabably try :)
I would choose also Frank, actually anyone but not Whitney... ;)

Have a wonderful day, Margot

p.s. Just wake up, drinking coffee and reading blogs, but in few minutes I'm off to Hyde Park with my daughter to meet a friend... weather is sooo nice today in London, that I have to use those last moments of sunshine, before autumn weather will completely take over.

Mónica Pinto said...

Hum, lobster!
This recipe must be delicious!

gaga said...

That pasta looks so fresh and tasty. And lobster is always good =)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

rosie-No worries. Just think how fun it will be when you do make one!

michelle-I know what you mean.

lisa-That would be a good substitute. Enjoy!

mark-Wink, wink right back at ya.

susan-Shrimp is always good in this.

veron-Really? Then you should try it. It's so easy.

terry-I just love Frank.

maria-Good luck!

heather-Smart girl. :)

nora-Another smart girl. :)

idish-You think so? Oh, thanks!

lynda-I love the North End!


peter-As for Whitney... I agree. ;)

marc-Yeah, I'll pass on Bobby too. ;)

tw-I could come over and help if that makes you feel better. ;)

ecv-What a sweet comment!:)

ftc-Fancy yet easy!

tanna-Thank you so much!

lydia-There's something about fra diavolo and dating, isn't there?

vij-You're welcome!

maryann-Thanks, sweetie!

peter-I agree.

mike-I think you would love it.

rosa-Thank you, my dear!

kate-Yeah, Jeff would try it, I'm sure!

lori lynn-:) I'm not sure!

syrie-I'm so glad.

val-Me too.


gattina-Oh, thanks so much.

margot-We went to Hyde Park on our honeymoon. It was so glorious. Enjoy your day!

monica-It is!

gaga- Always. :)

One Food Guy said...

I absolutely love Lobster Fra Diavlo. There is a restaurant in Newport, RI called Scales and Shells that has the absolute best lobster fra diavlo, for two actually! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Katie Zeller said...

It's been years since I've had lobster! Used to eat it a lot but it's not available here. It was in Andorra, but outrageously expense. I hope it was wonderful (I'd rather have Frank, too)

Jaime said...

i love the shrimp version of this dish so i can only imagine how good the lobster would be! wish i had fresh lobster like that, too!

amycaseycooks said...

Oh how I love all types of seafood. I could eat it every day. Your recipe sounds like a keeper for my files.