Squid Ink Pasta with Grilled Lobster and Calabrian Chili Butter

Squid Ink Pasta with Grilled Lobster and Calabrian Chili Butter

Sunday's in my house means there will be sports on tv, and pasta on the table. The pasta could be for dinner, or an appetizer, but pasta there will be! I like making fresh pasta because it bumps up the 'wow' factor and makes it seem like I did more work than I actually did. Making fresh pasta is time consuming, but not really hard, and I find it very cathartic. This pasta doesn't need fresh pasta since there is already a ton of flavor and texture, but if you want to impress the family, and in-laws, fresh pasta is the move. 

This recipe is actually pretty quick and easy even though it has several steps. You’re going to start by making a Calabrian chili compound butter to both baste the lobster with on the grill, and use as the base for the pasta sauce. Calabrian chilis are pretty spicy, so add as many or as few if you want. If you and your family aren’t huge fans of spicy food, only use one, or if you want to make it really sad, just leave them out altogether. Using Calabrian chili paste is also just fine.

Grilling the lobster in the compound butter is going to give them a nice spicy, smoky flavor, and adding wine to the sauce will add some acidity to cut through the spice. Plus, there will be plenty of wine left over to drown both your sorrows, and the ear shattering sound of constant unsolicited criticism that your monster…. Sorry, mother-in-law loves to share. No wine for her, this bottle is for the chef, so use a good Sauv Blanc. If you want, you can add some cherry tomatoes sliced in half once you melt the butter with olive oil as you’re preparing the pasta. This will help add a fresh flavor and cut down on the spiciness.



1 lb Squid ink tagliatelle or spaghetti 

4-6 Lobster tails, thawed if frozen

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1 Bay leaf

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened and divided

1 lemon, zested, then juiced

2 shallots, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc

3 Tbsp tomato paste

3-6 Calabrian chilis, (1 tbsp Calabrian chili paste)

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup grated fresh Parmesan, divided

Rosemary Lemon Salt

Fresh basil, roughly chopped (to finish)

Fresh parsley, chopped (to finish)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (if using)



For the Calabrian Chili Butter

  1. In a food processor, with blade running, drop in whole garlic and chunks of shallot.
  2. Remove the top to scrape down the walls, add Calabrian chilis and lemon zest, and continue blitzing.
  3. Scrape down the walls one more time, and add the softened butter. Gently pulse food processor until everything is well combined. Scrape down sides as needed. 


To Grill the Lobster

  1. Using a paper towel, coat grill grates with olive oil, THEN heat grill to 400 degrees. If you just tossing oil on the already hot grill, you'll likely lose some eyebrows. At the same time, start boiling your water on the stove for your pasta (add copious amounts of salt, this is a seafood dish, so make it taste like ocean water)
  2. With a sharp chef’s knife or cooking shears, cut the thawed lobster tails in half from the top, lengthwise to expose the meat but keeping the meat in the shell.
  3. Drizzle the meat side of each lobster tail with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with Rosemary Lemon Salt. 
  4. Place meat side down on the grill for about 5 minutes depending on size of tail
  5. Using tongs and a spatula (to make sure no lobster meat sticks to the grill), turn the tails over and spread Calabrian chili butter on the meat, and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes or until butter is bubbling and lobster is firm and cooked through.
  6. Remove from grill and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so until you can handle them without burning yourself and remove the meat from the shell.
  7. Chop lobster into bite sized chunks
  8. Add the shells to a saucepan or sauté pan with 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock with a bay leaf, and let simmer while the pasta is cooking, about 10 minutes


To Make the Pasta

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of the compound butter to sauté pan and heat until the butter begins bubbling.
  3. Add tomato paste, and continue cooking and stirring the mixture for about another two or three minutes while stirring. You want to make sure the garlic and shallot are cooked, without scorching the butter.
  4. Then pour in the wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any shallots that are stuck on pan, and reserving the rest of the wine for your personal joy and pleasure.
  5. If you’re adding fresh cherry tomatoes, do it now, and cook until they begin to breakdown and release their liquid
  6. Slowly pour in cream, ½ cup of the simmering lobster shell infused stock, lemon juice, and ½ cup of Parmesan. Reduce by about half, 4-5 minutes
  7. Add pasta and ½ lobster chunks and mix well. If the sauce seems dry, add more compound butter and lobster infused stock and/or reserved pasta water. If sauce is too thin, add more cheese and continue reducing.
  8. When sauce is at your desired thickness, begin plating pasta. Add remaining lobster to the hot pan with a splash of pasta water or stock to reheat.
  9. Top with remaining lobster meat, and sprinkle with more Rosemary Lemon Salt.
  10. Garnish with parsley and basil. Enjoy!
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