Ciao Italia Blog Exclusive: Lobster and Shrimp Casserole with Fennel

December 11, 2008

(Use this recipe for the Feast of Seven Fishes.)

Italian lobster (aragosta) is smaller and sweeter than the species we get here and since I live in New England, it seemed right to include a stove top lobster and shrimp casserole with an Italian twist. By adding diced fennel and ground star anise, the flavor intensifies without being too overpowering in this delicate dish.

Lobster and Shrimp Casserole with Fennel
Casserola di Aragosta Gamberi e Finocchio

Serves 4

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 pound medium size shrimp in the shell
1 cup diced fennel, white bulb part only
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup shrimp stock
2 cups light cream
1 small, whole star anise, crushed
1 pound cooked lobster meat cut into bite size pieces
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small sautée pan or skillet and toast the pine nuts until they are nicely browned. Transfer the nuts to a dish and set aside.

Put the shrimp in a medium size pot, cover with 1 1/2 cups of cold water, a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook the shrimp just until the shells turn pink. This should take only a couple of minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the shrimp to cool in the water. When cool, drain, reserving  3/4 cup of the water. Peel the shrimp, discard the shells and set the shrimp aside.

Melt the remaining butter in a 10 x 2 inch stovetop casserole dish. Stir in the fennel and cook it it over medium heat just until it softens.

Whisk in the flour and the star anise until the mixture forms a paste-like consistency. Slowly whisk in the reserved water and the cream. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth looking.
Gently fold in the lobster and shrimp until well-blended. Season with salt to taste. Stir in the parsley.

Sprinkle the top with the nuts and serve.

You can find this recipe in Ciao Italia Slow and Easy.

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