I have a thing for cold pasta salads. I can’t turn them down. Throw some lobster in there…and wow. That would be heaven. That would also be what my family cooked to celebrate (yes, again) my dad’s birthday last Friday. This time it was my parents, my younger brother Greg and I who were celebrating. We all cooked together – Mom and I chopping while we gave Dad the lobster duty (I’m a wimp.). Here’s why we picked it…
I was showing Dad one of my new cookbooks from the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten). We were flipping through, realizing Mom and Dad have that very same cookbook and they’ve made a few tasty items from it too. We were chatting about the store that Ina Garten used to own (called the Barefoot Contessa…which is where the name came from) and that lobster salad was apparently one of the many delectable treats her shop was known for. Next page we flip to…lobster pasta salad. Done.
The great thing about this recipe – it has grains, meat and vegetables. It’s a full meal! We just added some crispy baguettes from the grocery store and that was our entire dinner. It’s simple to whip up too – just chopping/boiling/mixing. That’s it! Our only complaint was it was a tad salty for our taste, so we’d cut back when we make it again. But we also didn’t let the salad ‘marinate in its juices’ for the 6 hours recommended. This could have helped the salty taste subside. Perhaps. If you like salt, then pour it on. However, if you are sensitive to overwhelming sodium, you can cut back and still have a delicious salad.
I made a few tweaks based on our family’s preferences but take it with a grain of salt. (Ha.)
Lobster Pasta Salad:
- Kosher salt (I’d decrease the salt the second time around and have modified the recipe below to reflect that)
- Olive oil
- 1 pound small pasta shells (We used Conchiglie but any small shells will do.)
- Kernels from 4 ears of corn (This is about 3 cups. Ignore the lack of the other 2 cobs in the picture below. We did use 4. Promise.)
- 6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (If you’re not with it, like me, this means scallion stalks…so you may have two or three stems on one stalk…you want 6 stalks of scallions total. And a partridge in a pear tree. I also had to look up stalk vs. stem. Confusing stuff.)
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and small-diced (We used yellow, but if you’re into super colorful aesthetics with your food, the orange would pop better against the yellow corn and red tomatoes…just saying.)
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat, medium-diced (We tried to find fresh lobster but Mankato, MN was fresh out…we were creative and used frozen lobster tails instead…it still tasted great – so if you can’t find fresh lobster, no worries.)
- 3/4 cups good mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cups minced fresh dill (We were also fresh out of fresh dill and bought the herb blend/paste instead. It worked great, but a little goes a long way. We only used about 2 Tbsp fearing it would overpower the dish. As Dad said…you can always add more.)
How to Make (all Ina’s instructions):
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 Tbsp of salt and some olive oil. Add the pasta and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Add the corn to the pasta and cook it for another 2 minutes, until the corn is tender.
Drain the pasta and corn together in a colander and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Add the scallions, diced pepper, tomatoes, and lobster, tossing gently to combine. Allow to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise. sour cream, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth. Pour over the pasta and mix well to bind the ingredients. Stir in the dill. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 6 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Check the seasonings and serve chilled or at room temperature. (As I mentioned, we ate ours right away. Feel free to chill yours for the ‘flavor development’ or if you’re starving like the Voses…dig in!)
Hard for it not to feel like spring is already here when eating this dish. Enjoy!