Christmas Eve Lobster Spaghetti
For many people the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Christmas holiday feast is a big turkey dinner. But for the Italian culture, the Christmas feast is centered around seafood, particularly on Christmas Eve.
If you know me, you know that my love for food started with Italian cuisine. Growing up with Italian friends, I would hear about their seafood filled Christmas Eve traditions and always dreamed of partaking in this magical feast. To my luck, I started dating a guy with an Italian background 8 years ago who warmly welcomed me into all of his family’s wonderful Italian holiday traditions (I promise it’s not the only reason I wanted to date him!). Ever since I’ve felt so privileged to be part of their epic seafood feast, led by Nonna, on Christmas Eve.
When my friends at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) asked me to team up to celebrate the holiday SEAson this year, I knew I had to share a piece of this tradition with my Megs Cucina community. And who better to help share the tradition than the one and only Nonna?! This past weekend, my boyfriend and I spent Saturday afternoon at his Nonna’s recreating the star of the show during the Christmas Eve feast: Lobster Spaghetti! It is pretty simple, but oh so heavenly. She cooks the lobster in tomato sauce and then serves the tomato sauce over spaghetti.
While Nonna taught us how to perfect her recipe, we taught her that choosing MSC certified sustainable seafood was a small and easy way to ensure she was serving her family lobster that was good for her family and for the ocean too.
What is MSC certified sustainable seafood?
The MSC is a global nonprofit dedicated to keeping oceans healthy and full of fish through its sustainability standards and certification program. When you see the MSC bluefish label on seafood products, you know you’re buying seafood from a wild, certified sustainable and traceable source. The MSC bluefish label on seafood products makes it easy for everyone to choose sustainable, traceable, wild seafood that has a proven impact on ocean health!
Where to purchase MSC certified sustainable seafood in Canada?
For all my Toronto friends, I picked up the lobster for this recipe at Seafront Fish Market in St Lawrence Market. While I splurged a little on the MSC certified sustainable lobster for this recipe, there really are sustainable seafood options available at every price point and budget. So, you don’t need to pay a premium to include sustainable seafood into your holiday plans. Look for the #MSCbluefish label at all major grocery stores including Costco, Loblaws, Whole Foods Market, St. Lawrence Market, and No Frills, in the canned/pouched section, frozen aisle, and fresh fish counter.
Ingredients for Holiday Lobster Spaghetti
The ingredients for this recipe are fairly simple, you just add more or less depending on how many people you are serving. Typically on Christmas Eve we make one lobster per person but it is really up to you! I made the dish for three people but provided recommendations for figuring how much you would need per person.
- 4 pounds of MSC certified sustainable live lobster (think 1-1.5 pounds per person)
- 3 jars strained tomatoes
- The lobster is cooked in the sauce, 3 lobsters fit well in the pot with 3 jars of tomato sauce. If you are cooking more lobster for a big group you can batch cook it and use the same sauce so you don’t necessarily need to add more sauce per lobster
- 1/2 package of spaghetti for three people (Both Nonna and I recommend Molisana Spaghetti)
- 4 cloves of garlic (add more garlic if you add additional jar of strained tomato)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbs salt
- Handful of roughly chopped parsley
- pinch of black pepper
- large pot
- lobster crackers
How to make Holiday Lobster Spaghetti
In a large pot, on medium heat add olive oil and garlic. Saute until garlic starts to turn golden brown. Add strained tomatoes, salt, parsley and black pepper. Let the sauce cook for 10-15 minutes and come to a boil. When the sauce is boiling you are ready to add the lobster.
Before adding to the sauce, do a quick rinse of the lobsters (one at a time) under hot tap water. This desensitizes the lobster a bit before going into the sauce so they don’t whip around plus it can remove any sand that might be on the underside of the them. Finally, cut off the bands that are holding the claws together and place the lobster into boiling sauce head first.
Depending on the size of the lobster it should take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Flip the lobsters around about halfway through. You will know they are cooked when the shells are bright red.
While the lobsters are cooking, you can make the pasta in a separate pot of boiling salted water – cook until al dente. As I mentioned in the ingredients section, if you are making lobster for a larger group, you can batch cook them in the same tomato sauce – it will continue to add to the flavor of the sauce which is going on top of the pasta! Just pull the cooked lobster out of the sauce, set aside and add the next batch.
Our tradition is to serve the pasta smothered in the lobster tomato sauce first and then eat the lobster. Crackers are passed around the table as everyone de-shells their lobster which usually makes for a messy and entertaining time!
If you prefer to de-shell the lobster for your guests, make sure to do it over a dish that can collect all of the juices that come out of the shells from being cooked in the tomato sauce. Once you are done put this back into the sauce pot, as Nonna says – that is where all the best flavor is!
I had so much fun recreating this Christmas Eve tradition with my boyfriend and Nonna and showing you how easy it is to incorporate sustainable seafood into your holidays.
*This post was done in partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council, however the opinions are 100% my own.*