Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Lobster Risotto

I've always been slightly freaked out by risotto.

Because I've always been under the impression that it is super-complicated and intensive and difficult and could possibly bring me to tears.

I have been so, SO wrong.

It's surprisingly easy - but it does require attention.  So you need to be ready to hang out with it while you're cooking it.

But this recipe?  I promise.  It's worth it.


Here's what you'll need.

The first thing to do is to remove the lobster meat from the shells (remove the vein), and drop the shells into combined chicken broth and water and bring to a simmer.

At this point, you're also supposed to blanch the green beans - but I don't have any pictures of that.  Because I forgot until the very last second.  Because risotto only requires stirring muscles and my brain basically thought "add a scoop of broth, stir until gone.  Repeat." And I couldn't really think about anything beyond that.
It was like the most delicious meditation ever.
Okay.  Now the lobster shells are simmered and the beans are blanched.  Remove the lobster shells from the pot and toss 'em.  Keep the (now) lobster stock in the pot on the burner on very low heat.  I'm told it absorbs better if the stock is warm.
Set aside the green beans. 
In a small bowl, rub and crush/crumble the saffron threads between your fingers and drop into a bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of the broth.
In a post a bazillion years ago, I talked about how you would see the saffron "bloom".  I believe I even mentioned that I didn't really understand what that meant and I just kind of winged it.
After this, I understand what "blooming" looks like.  It's actually quite beautiful.  This picture doesn't really do it justice.

In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat butter and canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and cook until translucent.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat the grains with the oil and butter mixture.

Add in the white wine and cook until the wine is evaporated - or absorbed by the rice.  I'm not really sure what happens here.
But make sure you stir and stir and stir.

Then start adding the stock.  1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the stock is absorbed by the rice.
Here's where things get tricky.  Toni's recipe says that after 12 minutes, add in the saffron mixture.  I'm not 100% sure if this is 12 minutes from the time the rice is first added to the pan, or if it's 12 minutes from the time the shallots start cooking. 
She may be able to clear that up for you - definitely ask!  She responds really fast and is super-nice.

Isn't that saffron beautiful?  Don't forget to stir!
Oh.  Before we go any further, a question that I always had was how to know that the rice was ready for more broth.  Do you see how in the picture above, on the right-hand side of the picture the rice stays away from the side of pot?  That's how you can tell.  If you draw a spoon down the center of the rice and the rice stays apart, it's ready for more broth.  If the rice comes back together, keep stirring. 
Continue adding the broth.  Stir, stir, stir!!!
After 18 minutes, add the green beans.

Annnnd - continue to add the stock.  Stir!
At 20 minutes, check the doneness.  You'll be looking for the rice to be cooked to al dente.
If the rice is al dente, add the lobster meat.  If not, continue to add stock until al dente is reached. Use more plain chicken stock (or plain water is fine) if you run out of lobster stock.
Cook for an additional 5 minutes to cook the lobster meat through.  Stir, stir, stir!!!
Turn off the heat and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese until melted.

Can we just pause for a second and look at how beautiful that is?  It's gorgeous!  And somehow magically creamy?  And how I'm DROOLING just looking at this picture?

Toni calls this risotto luxurious- I totally agree.  But not heavy in the slightest.  Decadent, creamy, and full of flavor with the most exciting snap of texture from the beans - which were the perfect veggie for this risotto.
I would make this for Christmas, New Years, Father's Day, my birthday, heartbreak recovery - or heck - Tuesday night.  It's perfect for any occasion!
Toni has completely hit the mark with this one and I absolutely recommend that you visit her site and check out her incredibly gorgeous pictures of this dish (mine do her absolutely no justice!), and try out her divine recipe.
Oh!  Make sure your pan is big enough to hold all that amazing risotto - mine was just BARELY big enough.
Thank you Toni for such a wonderful recipe!