This classic Flo-ribbean-Cuban-inspired dish is especially delicious on a cool August evening as the summer wanes and shellfish is at its peak. It's typically served over rice, but I always serve it over a short rigatoni, ditali or other similarly shaped pasta to soak up all the sauce. Take note: This recipe makes a little more sauce than needed because I like freezing the leftovers to use in other recipes.
Slideshow:More Andrew Zimmern Recipes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 whole dried árbol chiles
10 garlic cloves, crushed
Zest of one lemon
10 oregano sprigs
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 celery ribs, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 medium fennel bulb-trimmed, cored and finely chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2 large onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
6 cups tomato purée, preferably San Marzano
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for seasoning
One 12-ounce bottle IPA or lager (an IPA can be very hoppy and a little bitter)
24 littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed
Two 2-pound lobsters, halved lengthwise, claws cracked but intact (have your fishmonger prep the lobsters)
How to Make It
In a very large saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat until shimmering. Add the chiles and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and oregano, then add the bell pepper, carrots, celery, fennel and onions, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and 2 teaspoons of sea salt, season with pepper and cook until simmering, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beer and simmer for 10 minutes longer.
Nestle the clams and lobsters into the sauce. Cover and cook over low heat until the clams open and the lobster is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain. Serve the clams and lobster with the pasta and plenty of sauce.
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