Pennette with Mushroom Cream, Lobster, and Asparagus

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Versatile mushroom cream can be dressed up even further with the addition of complementary ingredients. Compare the refinement of this dish to the simple earthiness of Pasta with Wild Mushrooms to see just how adaptable that rich sauce can be in different guises. Here, crisp asparagus and chunks of lobster make the simple sauce richer and give the dish a variety of textures. Delicates snow peas would also be an attractive and delicious foil for the mushroom cream and the lobster meat. Pennette, a more diminutive version of sturdy penne, suits the elegance of the sauce.

NotesEach pound of live lobster will yield 1/3 to ½ cup cooked meat. Cooked lobster meat from the fish store will work in this recipe.

Order of preparation:

• Cook the lobster.

• While the lobsters boil, cook the asparagus and the pasta.

• Prepare the mushroom cream.

• Combine with the pasta, asparagus, and lobster.

Make-ahead notes:

• The lobsters can be cooked and the meat removed from the shells and refrigerated for 12 hours.

• The mushroom cream, partially reduced, can be refrigerated for 3 days. Before serving, bring to a boil and finish reducing.

• The pasta can be undercooked, tossed with a little oil, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Rewarm in the sauce or in hot water.

Makes4 to 6 appetizer servings


Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturecreamy, rich, savory, umami

Type of Dishpasta


  • Kosher salt
  • 16 to 20 stalks asparagus
  • Kosher salt
  • 2½ cups pennette
  • Virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • About 2 cups Mushroom Cream
  • 1½ to 2 cups Cooked Lobster Meat, cut into medium dice (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons truffle juice (available at specialty groceries), optional
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the asparagus:

  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, blanch the asparagus until bright green and still crisp, 3 to 4 minutes, and shock in a bowl of ice water. Remove it by grasping the stems, rather than the tips. Cut off the tips about 3 inches from the top and halve lengthwise. Thinly slice the remaining stems.

  3. For the pasta:

  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.

  5. To serve:

  6. In a medium skillet or sauté pan, bring the mushroom cream to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium and simmer until it reduces slightly. Add the cooked pennette and toss until, heated through. Add the asparagus and lobster and heat through. Add the optional truffle juice and chopped chives. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

  7. Divide among 4 to 6 bowls.

  8. Variation:

  9. For pennette, substitute penne, small tortellini, or cavatelli.

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