Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Luscious Lobster Risotto

Lobster can transform any meal into a celebration. This delicious risotto captures the best of the sea (mari) and is a great way to make one cooked lobster go a long way. A little saffron gives the risotto an inviting golden colour and adds a lovely buttery flavour to the soffritto. I always like to add a little Pernod to shellfish as it tends to brighten up the flavours, and gives a hidden depth to the dish. Tarragon has a similar anise quality and provides an attractive green flourish to the final presentation. I realize that cheese is not normally added to seafood dishes, but lobster is different. I feel that it's robust enough to handle a cup or two of tangy Pecorino or Parmegiano cheese towards the end. And why not — in for a penny, in for a pound! Rich and full flavoured, this divine recipe for Lobster Risotto makes a very elegant first course for up to six people and a decadent dinner for four. And it tastes as good as it looks!

Lobster Risotto
Serves 4

1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp tomato paste
8 oz cooked lobster, shelled and cut into small nuggets

5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely minced shallots
1/8 tsp powdered saffron

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 tbsp dried tarragon or 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp Pernod
2 cups Pecorino cheese, shredded

salt and pepper

Condimenti: Heat the butter in a small skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the lobster and gently sauté with the tomato and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes, until the lobster is heated through. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Brodo: In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a steady simmer on the stove top.

Soffritto: Heat the butter and oil in a large casserole over moderate heat. Add the shallots and sauté 1 to 2 minutes until the shallots start to soften.

Riso: Add the rice to the soffritto, and using a wooden spook, stir for a minute or two, making sure the grains are well coated. Add the wine and stir until it's completely absorbed. Then using a ladle, begin to add the chicken broth, one scoop at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next scoop, until all incorporated. The rice should be tender yet firm. Add the condimenti and stir vigorously to combine with the rice. Add the tarragon, Pernod and cheese and stir to combine. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more white wine if you need to loosen the risotto. Serve immediately in 4 warmed serving bowls, with a sprig of fresh tarragon for garnish, if you like.

Lois-the-Lobster, who gave herself selflessly for our Lobster Risotto. Grazie.

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