Lobster Fra Diavolo

Lobster Fra Diavolo is a delicious combination of fresh lobster, spicy tomato sauce and perfectly cooked pasta. Bring out this dish when you’re looking to impress or a simple Sunday night dinner…any time is the right time!

My friend, Polly Levine, first offered up this recipe on her blog, Pollyruth.co, and it’s been a favorite of mine since then.

Searing the lobster tails with a little olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper gives the lobster meat a wonderful flavor and the shells a bright color.

The sauce is flavored with onions, carrots, fennel and garlic and spiced up with Calabrian chilies.  A little white wine, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes round out this lovely sauce.

Combine the spicy sauce with the lobster and an al-dente spaghetti.  Dinner just went from good to great!

Slice the soft underbelly of the tails down the middle with a scissors or knife (I find a kitchen shears works well for this).  Season the tails with salt and pepper and in a large stockpot with heated olive oil, sear the tails until the shells turn bright red and the lobster is cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.

Try not to crowd the tails.  If necessary, do this in two batches, adding a little more olive oil if required.  Remove the tails from the pot and set aside.  This can be done 6 hours ahead, which really helps when trying to pull this together at the last minute (I like to do as much as I possibly can ahead of time).

To the pot that the lobsters were seared in, add some brandy and deglaze the pot.  Once done, set brandy mixture aside in a small bowl.

Now that the lobster has cooled a bit, pick out the lobster meat from 2 of the tails, trying to keep the meat in as big pieces as possible.  You can slice them into chunks or rounds.  Keep two of the tails, with the meat intact.  Save the other two shells to flavor the tomato sauce.

Sauté finely chopped onions, carrots, and fennel in olive oil in the same pot that you have been using.  Add the garlic, chilies and chili flakes and continue to  sauté for a few minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook until it has darkened.

Add the white wine and reserved lobster shells and cook until the wine has reduced to about one-third.  Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until thickened and nicely flavored.  Discard the shells from the sauce.

This sauce can also be made ahead and refrigerated at this point.

Cook the pasta in a clean pot of salted water until it is al dente.  I like using spaghetti for this dish, but linguine or bucatini are also nice choices.

Before draining the pasta, reserve some of the pasta water. 

In a pot with the sauce (reheated if it’s been in the fridge), add the pasta, butter, lobster meat, whole lobster tails, brandy mixture and some of the pasta water to make a thick sauce.  Add more water if necessary to be sure that the sauce coats all of the pasta.  Continue to stir until the lobster is heated through and all of the pasta has been coated.

All that’s left now is to sprinkle some lemon juice over the top, divide it among serving dishes and arrange a whole lobster tail over the top of each dish.  Sprinkle with some parsley, pour a nice white wine and enjoy!  You can also serve it directly from the pot or on a large platter.

Share Your Thoughts...

Lastly, if you make Lobster Fra Diavolo, be sure to leave a review down below at the bottom of this page (stars are also appreciated)! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every review. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Lobster Fra Diavolo

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour & 20 minutes


  • 6 lobster tails
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped drained Calabrian chilies
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes, (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • lemon wedges (as a garnish)


Split lobster tails down lengthwise (the back, softer side) with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot that is big enough to hold pasta. Season lobster tails with salt and sear lobster until shells are bright red, about 6-8 minutes. Do not overcrowd them (you may have to do this in batches, adding more oil if necessary). Transfer tails to a rimmed baking sheet. (This can be done 6 hours ahead).

Remove pot from heat and add brandy. Return to heat and cook, scraping up browned bits and cook until the smell of alcohol is gone, about 2 minutes. Transfer brandy mixture to a small bowl.

Pick lobster meat out of 2 of the lobster tails, and cut into chunks or slices. Try to keep shells in as large pieces as possible. Reserve shells and place the meat along with the whole tails in a container. Chill until ready to use.

In a food processor, finely chop the onions, carrots and fennel separately and place in a bowl.

Wipe out pot and heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, chilis, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, cooking and smashing the garlic with a wooden spoon, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, season with salt and stir until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and reserved lobster shells; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by 1/3, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 10-15 minutes. Discard lobster shells. At this point you can put this in the refrigerator if you want to make in advance.

Cook pasta in a clean pot according to directions, and very al dente. Reserve 1 & 1/2 cups pasta water after cooking, before draining.

Add butter, chilled lobster meat, tails, pasta, brandy mixture, and 1 cup of pasta water to sauce. Cook together adding more pasta water if necessary, until all the sauce coats the pasta. Use a heavy hand making sure all of the ingredients are well combined.

Add parsley and lemon juice, then transfer to a platter, arranging extra tails on top. Or, serve straight from the pot.

Garnish with lemon wedges.

Chef’s Note:

If you don’t like a spicy sauce, just eliminate the chilies and chili flakes. The sauce will still be delicious, just not Diavolo!

Recipe by Polly Ruth


    You May Also Like

    Leave a Review

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *