Updated 8:13 PM EST, Fri, Apr 9, 2010
2 cups orzo
Two 1 1/2-pound lobsters
2 medium eggplants
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 vanilla bean
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 large egg yolks
8 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
3. Bring another large pot of water to a boil. Add the lobsters and cook until the shells are bright red, about 5 minutes. Strain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, crack open the lobster claws, knuckles, and tail and remove the meat. Slice the meat into ½-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl.
4. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle the garlic on a baking sheet. Place the eggplants cut side down on the baking sheet and roast until tender, 40 minutes. Remove from the oven. When they are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the eggplants and chop. Combine with the lobster meat. With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, then use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds into the eggplant–lobster meat mixture. Add the vanilla bean.
5. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked orzo and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the lobster mixture and 2 tablespoons water and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and fold in the feta, egg yolks, and basil. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, divide the orzo among four bowls.
Because orzo is such a small pasta, it’s my favorite choice for pasta salad. I find that it’s also a great choice for kids, because it’s easy to eat with a spoon.