Lobster Bolognese with Fresh Capellini and Brown Butter Truffle Froth

Josiah Citrin shares his recipe

Good news, guys! The entire September Chefs of the Year issue is now available online. You can peruse the 20 winners, learn tips for perfect scrambled eggs from Ludo Lefevre, find out what those naughty cooks do after hours, discover four hidden talents of world cuisine, trace the tangled web of L.A. toques, and much more. To whet your appetite, here’s a lavish recipe from one of our more established award winners: Josiah Citrin of Mélisse. Just in time for lobster season, his lobster Bolognese with capellini is an intimidatingly ambitious undertaking (three Maine lobsters!), but with results that will have your dinner guests thinking you’re the chef of the year.

Lobster Bolognese with Fresh Capellini, Basil, Brown Butter Truffle Froth

Serves 6


3 11/4 pound live Maine lobsters, cooked, claws and bodies shelled, cut into small dice

1 medium sweet onion, cut into small dice
3 cloves garlic, cut in half, germ removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 pounds vie-ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
½ cup chardonnay, reduced to ¼ cup
½ cup Lobster Stock
½ cup Chicken Stock
½ cup Veal Jus
Sea salt to taste

8 ounces fresh capellini
1 cup Mushroom Stock
1 cup truffle juice
¼ cup cream
2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into a small dice
*2 ounces Brown Butter (see below)
Black truffle oil
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

BROWN BUTTER (makes 3 cups)
1 ½ pounds unsalted butter


Put the butter in a 3-quart pot.  Melt the butter over high heat and bring to a boil (about 15 minutes).  Skim off the milk solids that float to the top.  Continue cooking for approximately 1 hour.  The butter should be dark brown and have a nutty aroma, and the bottom of the pot should e black.

Strain through a cheesecloth-lined chinois into a shallow dish.  Let it cool at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Chill in the refrigerator until solid.  Cut into small dice and store in a freezer bag in the freezer until needed.

½ cup Lobster Stock
8 ounces unsalted butter cut into small dice
Sea salt and Espelette pepper to taste
A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons Brunoise Vegetables
2 ounces black Perigord truffles, crushed with a fork and finely chopped (optional)
6 opal basil leaves, cut into small dice
6 sweet basil leaves, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the onion, garlic and butter in a pot.  Set over medium heat and season lightly with sea salt.  Cook the onions until they are soft and translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes).  Add the tomatoes and heat through, season lightly with sea salt and when the tomatoes are hot, add the chardonnay, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook on low, (stirring often and being careful not to let the sauce burn on the bottom), until all the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick (about 45 minutes).  Pass the sauce through a food mill into a stainless steel bowl then set that bowl over a bowl of ice and stir to cool.

In a deep pot over medium heat, reduce the Mushroom Stock by half.  Add the truffle juice and reduce by a quarter. Add the cream and bring the mixture to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the butter, Brown Butter and truffle oil while blending with an immersion blender until frothy.  Season to taste with sea salt, white pepper and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Keep warm in the pot.

Reduce the lobster stock until only 1 tablespoon remains.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the butter a little at a time until emulsified.  Season with sea salt, Espelette pepper and few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Keep warm.

Bring a pot of blanching water (1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water) to a boil.  Divide the Bolognese Sauce into two pans (it’s easier to mix and plate using two plans).  Add the Brunoise Vegetables and chopped black truffles (if using) to the Bolognese Sauce and heat on medium heat.  Add the Lobster Beurre Monte to each pan.  Add the lobster and heat until just hot, but not overdone.  Cook the pasta for 1 ½ minutes in the boiling water and divide it into the two Lobster Bolognese pots.  Add the chopped  basil and extra virgin olive oil.  Season to taste.  If it’s too dry, add a little more Lobster Beurre Monte.  Spin the pasta around a meat fork and lay it down the center of six heated plates.  Spoon the Lobster Bolognese in a line over the pasta.  Blend the Brown Butter Truffle Froth with an immersion blender until frothy.  Spoon the froth over the pasta and serve.