boston.com Your Life your connection to The Boston Globe
The Makeover of Matt Light
Matt tackles dinner
Strawberry pasta a la Matt Light He sacks a lobster and poaches a pear

Matt Light is the first to admit he could use a cooking lesson. "I try to prepare something good but it's always the same thing: steak," Matt explains to our food and wine expert, Chris Spinazzola.

Chris, owner of Funway Café in Foxboro and Chairman of the Board of The Anthony Spinazzola Foundation, has volunteered to guide Matt through the intricacies of preparing a romantic dinner for two.

"Do you have any cooking experience?" Chris asks as the two don their aprons (Matt's comes with a Patriot's logo). "I hunt," Matt volunteers, "so I know how to dress a deer. I even cleaned a turkey once."

Then stuffing a lobster should be easy, right? But that doesn't stop Matt from recoiling at the sight of the two bruiser crustaceans that now occupy his sink.

Gentlemen, man your potholders
These big lobsters are the main event in a three-course meal Matt is preparing for wife Susie. In addition to splitting a lobster and stuffing it, Matt will learn how to make Strawberry-Alfredo Pasta and Poached Pears with Whipped Cream.

The space in the Lights' condo kitchen is tighter than a post-game locker room, but somehow Matt, Chris and Manny Caneja-the Funway Café's executive chef-move smoothly from stove to sink without bumping elbows.

Chris shows Matt how he wants the onions and peppers diced for the lobster stuffing and motions for him to start chopping. "I saw this once on a late-night TV infomercial," Matt, an offensive tackle for the Patriot's. Ever the blocker, he asks, "I hold my knuckle out as a guard, right?"

Matt marvels as the veggies brown in the glass-covered sauté pan from HomeGoods. "Back home, we used plates for tops," he says. "We never had lids for cooking pans."

After demonstrating how to split a lobster, Chris hands the chef's knife to Matt, who lifts another live one by the tail. "Uh-oh! He's mad!" Matt exclaims.

When the lobsters are ready to stuff, Chris melts butter in a pan and tosses in fresh scallops, shrimp and a little sherry. Matt stuffs the lobsters with the veggies and crushed cracker crumbs, layers the sautéed shellfish across the top and slides them in the oven. He moves on to the pears and pasta.

A multi-tasker
Matt is used to complicated game plans and soon he's maneuvering among the food rocessor (pureeing strawberries), the sauté pan whisking Alfredo sauce), the pot of pears simmering in red wine (to which he adds orange zest) and the oven (checking on the lobster).

At last, with a little help-okay, a lot of help-from Chris, the meal is ready to serve. Matt deftly slices a strawberry as a garnish and serves the pasta to Susie, along with a sparkling glass of Perrier Jouet Champagne.

"This is the best meal I'll ever be served in this house," she says.

"One great leap for mankind," says Matt, picking up his fork and diving into the dish. Does Chris think Matt has a future in the restaurant business after he leaves pro sports? "Yes," quips the restaurateur, "as a bouncer!"
Sponsors