"Lobster is an indulgence, but if it's not cooked with care it can be very average," says Toft. "In this dish the lobster must remain just cooked, while still releasing its essence into the pasta and sauce. I prefer to get the flavour from the fresh lobster, lightly crushed tomato flesh and olive oil rather than from any bisque technique; butter is a no-no too. A splash of olio nuovo added right at the end will make it feel even more like an occasion."
- 3 live lobsters (900gm each)
- 180 ml (¾ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 1 bunch spring onions (white and pale green part only) thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 long red chilli, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 ripe Roma tomatoes, finely diced
- 375 ml white wine
- ⅓ cup (loosely packed) marjoram
- 390 gm 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1For pasta dough, mix flour, eggs, yolks and a pinch of salt in a bowl with a fork until dough comes together, then turn out onto a work surface and knead until smooth and elastic (3-4 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- 2Divide dough into 4, then, working with one piece at a time, lightly flour and feed dough through a pasta machine starting with rollers at the widest setting. Fold dough in half lengthways, feed through rollers again, repeating until smooth. Continue to feed dough through, reducing notch by notch, feeding and rolling until second-last setting. Lightly dust with flour, halve pasta sheet to shorten and pass through the 3-mm wide cutter attachment (or dust each pasta sheet, roll into a cylinder and thinly slice to make tagliolini strips). Lightly dust with flour and lay out flat on trays. Repeat with remaining pasta dough.
- 3Meanwhile, kill lobsters humanely, splitting them in half lengthways. Separate heads from tails, remove meat from shell and cut each piece into thirds. Remove yellow-brown tomalley (reserve) and remove gills from head and discard.
- 4Preheat oven to 200°C. Place heads on an oven tray and roast until cooked (5-10 minutes; optional, to garnish).
- 5Heat a large wide saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring, until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add lobster, season to taste, then add tomatoes and toss for 1 minute. Add wine and tomalley and simmer, covered, until lobster is almost cooked (2-3 minutes).
- 6Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (2-3 minutes). Drain, reserving some pasta water. Add pasta to lobster sauce with marjoram, toss for 1 minute to combine, adding some pasta water to loosen if necessary, and season to taste.
- 7Serve pasta with halved lobster heads, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
Drink suggestion: A bright and crunchy pinot noir such as the celebrated 2015 vintage from Jean-Marc Boillot in Burgundy. Drink suggestion by Adrian Filiuta.