If you’re headed to New York in search of the best pasta, you may want to bypass Little Italy and head straight up to Midtown’s Nerai, an upscale Greek restaurant offering one of the most decadent dishes I’ve sampled in recent memory: Astakomakaronada, otherwise known as Greek lobster pasta.
Anchored in a brandy cream sauce with notes of tarragon, red peppers (not tomatoes!), and carrots, this Mediterranean dream is then topped with fresh lobster meat and served on squid ink linguine—a harmonious blend of heavy ingredients with the lightness of seafood, paired flawlessly with any of the menu’s mineral-forward Greek white wines.
After enjoying Nerai’s delicious (and affordable!) chef’s tasting menu, which highlights other local and more familiar Greek cuisine like pita with tahini hummus, grilled octopus over santorini fava beans, and a scallop with honey-glazed pork belly, my mind was still set on that pasta. And lucky for you, I was able to snag the recipe from Executive Chef Moshe Grundman so that you can enjoy my new favorite carb-binge at home.
“Lobster pasta is the ultimate comfort food and is notoriously known for being time consuming to make,” he says. “We elevate the traditional Greek dish with a squid ink linguine and also use a red pepper and carrot reduction to add the perfect amount of natural sweetness to the dish.”
Consider me comfortable, especially as we dive head-first into months of winter temperatures. Yamas!
Note: Grundman says lobster stock is a necessity with no substitutions. Here is a link to a simple lobster rock recipe.
Nerai's Lobster Pasta (Astakomakaronada)
- 4 cups lobster stock
- 2 oz. brandy
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 red bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into one-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
- 4 1-lb whole lobsters
- 4 springs of tarragon, chopped
- In a pot, combine lobster stock, heavy cream, brandy, red bell peppers, two sprigs of chopped tarragon, carrots, and bring to a boil.
- Simmer and reduce liquid by half.
- Puree remaining liquid in a blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- Season with salt.
- Bring a separate large pot to a boil. Place lobsters in the pot for 7 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove and place in an ice bath to cool.
- Remove lobster meat from claws and tails. Chop the claws and keep the tails whole.
- Cook your choice of pasta (linguini is recommended) al dente.
- Bring pureed sauce to a boil until it has a thick consistency and can coat pasta.
- Add chopped lobster meat with pasta and toss in the whole lobster tails.
- Serve pasta topped with a tail in a bowl. Sprinkle remaining tarragon.