One of the (many) wonderful things about fries is that they’re a great blank canvas — you can simply dip them in condiments like ketchup or mayonnaise, or pile them with toppings à la poutine. In an episode of Chefs at Home, Derrick C. Westbrook—sommelier and partner at Juice@1340 in Chicago — takes the latter route and tops his homemade pomme frites with lobster (yes, lobster!), as well as aioli and plenty of other fixings. The show-stopping meal takes just an hour to make, and it pairs wonderfully with a crisp Chablis.

In addition to the frites, he prepares creamy tomato rigatoni, a super-simple pasta that he serves with a Blaufränkisch. Read on for the videos and recipes so you can prepare both meals at home.

Creamy Tomato Rigatoni

The sauce for the creamy tomato rigatoni begins with unsalted butter and chopped onion in a large Dutch oven. Let the onions cook for three to five minutes over medium heat until they’re golden brown, and then, add in the crushed plum tomatoes (don’t forget the juices, either). Westbrook recommends adding them slowly so they don’t splash. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

After the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes and thickened, the heavy cream goes in next, along with some kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the cooked rigatoni and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce. Then, pour in 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid — feel free to add more until you reach the consistency you want. Once you’re satisfied, spoon some rigatoni into a bowl and sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. The accompanying Blaufränkisch, Westbrook notes, has a herbaceous note that helps “accentuate the parsley in the dish,” and the wine is lighter, so it doesn’t overpower the course either.

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Lobster Frites

Up next is lobster frites, which Westbrook says is one of his favourite dishes. Homemade (and double-fried!) pommes frites are paired with garlic butter sauce, homemade Old Bay aioli, and cooked lobster meat, creating the ultimate plate of loaded fries. Start by making the garlic butter sauce on the stovetop, and whisking together the aioli—the frites are up next, which you can fry in a deep fryer, large pot, or wok. Once those are done, stir the lobster meat into the butter sauce and cook until it’s just heated through, which should take about three minutes.

At this point, you’re ready to serve. Pile the frites on each plate first, and then drizzle them with some of the Old Bay aioli. The buttery lobster goes on next with a little extra drizzle of butter sauce, following by the sliced celery, strips of red bell pepper, and sliced scallions for garnish. For the finishing touch, drizzle the lobster frites with more Old Bay aioli.

As for the wine? Westbrook selects a Chablis, explaining that the brightness and acidity helps cut through the richness of the dish. “Chablis and lobster, match made in heaven,” he says.

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This story first appeared on

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Justin King)

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