AT A GLANCE
This is no ordinary pasta bake - it's a super-luxe version generously flecked with sweet chunks of lobster meat. The jumbo-sized shell-shaped pasta is the perfect shape to hold the fennel-laced creamy sauce. A little crème fraîche added to the mix adds a subtle tang, while a crunchy crumb topping spiked with lemon rind is all the texture you need.
|01||Place lobster in freezer to render it insensible (40 minutes), then kill it humanely (see note). Cook lobster in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until bright in colour (7-8 minutes). Refresh in iced water then drain.|
|02||Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until not quite al dente (6-8 minutes). Drain, reserving 2 tbsp cooking water, and return both to pan.|
|03||Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, fennel and garlic, and sauté until translucent (4-5 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine and simmer to reduce completely (1-2 minutes). Stir in flour, then, stirring continuously, gradually add milk and stir until smooth. Bring to a simmer, stir continuously until thickened (2-3 minutes), then stir in crème fraîche and parmesan and season to taste.|
|04||Twist lobster head and body in opposite directions to separate (do this over a bowl to catch the juices). Cut down through the tail, remove meat and coarsely chop. Stir lobster and reserved juices into sauce, along with lemon juice and cayenne pepper, then add to pasta, stir to combine, then transfer to a 2.5-litre baking dish.|
|05||Combine breadcrumbs, oil and lemon rind in a bowl, season to taste, then scatter crumbs over pasta and bake until the filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown (25-30 minutes). Scatter with fennel fronds and chives, and serve hot with lemon wedges.|