farfalle pasta with lobster, tarragon cream sauce and fresh corn


When my sister and I were little, my parents would take us down to San Diego for a week every summer, and would lie to us and tell us it was Hawaii.  Like gullible little fools, we fell for it hook, line and sinker, despite the fact that no body of water was crossed to get there. One of our favorite restaurants to go to in La Jolla was The Crab Catcher. It was set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, and felt very posh indeed. Every time we went, we would all get the crab bisque for our starter, which was just heaven. I will never forget how delicious that bisque was – creamy, sunset pink from a hint of tomato paste, delicately finished with Sherry and topped with lump crabmeat. Although I might be remembering this bisque through a rose colored lens, this is the food memory that every other bisque has had to live up to, which is a very tall order.

I wanted to channel the flavors of this delightful bisque into a pasta dish.  Beautiful squid ink farfalle that I picked up from La Grande Épicerie at Le Bon Marché are shrouded in a Sherry and tarragon cream sauce, and topped with fresh, lightly sautéed fresh corn and sweet, succulent lobster. The flavor combination is exquisite, and simply sings summer.




Adapted from Epicurious

  • 3 fresh lobster tails {if using frozen lobster tails, defrost}
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 ears fresh corn, husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons double concentrated tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound farfalle, fettuccine or linguine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced

Bring very large pot of salted water to boil. Add lobster tails. Boil until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes, depending on size of the tails {mine were quite small}. Using tongs, transfer lobster tails to large rimmed baking sheet. Remove meat from tail; place meat in medium bowl. Cover and chill meat. Reserve shells.

Stand corn upright in a shallow bowl and carefully cut off kernels using a large knife.  In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat.  Add shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add corn kernels and saute for 5 minutes longer, or until corn is cooked through but not mushy.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add reserved lobster shells. Sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add tomato paste; stir 3 minutes. Stir in wine, vinegar, garlic and tarragon. Add cream; boil 2 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer just until lobster flavor infuses cream and mixture reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Strain sauce into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard contents of strainer.

Transfer sauce to heavy large saucepan. Cut lobster meat into bite-size pieces. Add lobster pieces, corn to sauce and Sherry to sauce. Gently rewarm over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Add sauce; toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats pasta, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with chives, if desired. Transfer to large shallow bowl and serve.




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23 Responses to farfalle pasta with lobster, tarragon cream sauce and fresh corn

  1. Chelsea says:

    Oooh, that squid ink farfalle is so pretty! I can imagine all kinds of plays on “black tie pasta” you could make with those little bowties.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you so much Chelsea! Surprisingly, it was so difficult to come up with a pasta recipe that would showcase the special black tie pasta appropriately! I felt that I couldn’t go wrong with lobster! 🙂 xoxo

  2. Spotted SF says:

    Was just thinking I needed a recipe for my “striped bowties”. Thanks for sharing! Sounds delish!!!

  3. I love fancy pasta and that striped farfalle is so perfect! Your sauce looks incredible!

  4. Oh wow, I love everything about this dish including that beautiful farfalle. So funny your parents told you that you were in Hawaii, LOL!!! Love the pasta dish and also looking for a great recipe for bisque, know of one?

  5. abrooke65 says:

    This is beautiful! LOL re: your parents’ trick. I used to eat bow tie pasta in kasha varnishkas.

  6. Great post! Never saw the Farfalle, such delicious food childhood memories.

  7. What a fun looking farfalle and it matches your sauce perfectly. Love this recipe. Never had corn with pasta before and now thinking about it I can imagine it to be wonderful, and with lobster tails? So creative and wonderful. Beautiful photographs. Did you ever make it to Hawaii? 🙂

  8. Sounds beautiful, looks beautiful!

  9. Cecile says:

    This sounds so wonderful and special ! And I very much enjoyed reading about your childhood “trips to Hawaii” and about the delicious lobster bisque, which happens to be one of my favorite things !!

  10. Lilly Sue says:

    WOW, what beautiful pasta! Absolutely stunning dish 🙂 I love the memory inspired dish- I had a lobster bisque a while ago that I just loved and it will take a while for another to live up to it. I also am land locked so the whole easy access to “fresh” seafood does not exist.

  11. Karen says:

    What a lovely sounding summer recipe. Tarragon and seafood are such a wonderful combination.

  12. bp says:

    This is killer, Lindsay! Killer! I had two steamed lobsters for lunch yesterday & wouldn’t mind having another lobster dish today! Wish you had a tiny cafe so I could pop in & try this inventive dish!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you so much bp! 2 steamed lobsters for lunch – how luxurious! I would love to have you over to my little cafe – what a wonderful thought! Thank you so much for stopping by! xoxo

  13. Brittany says:

    This looks so good I can almost taste it. I love that you use the shells in the cream sauce – hellooo flavor!

  14. themondaybox says:

    What a beautiful dish! I don’t think it is crazy at all to bring foods home from a trip. When traveling, we always try to go to a local supermarket (ok, La Grande Épicerie at Le Bon Marché is hardly just a supermarket!) to bring home flavors and food that give us a taste of a far away place.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Haha – thank you for your support! I feel somewhat insane packing a suitcase full of food on my return trip, but I certainly love to have beautiful ingredients to cook with at home and transport me to wherever it was that I purchased them. So many amazing food markets that simply tempt you to buy everything! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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