On New Years Eve, Fresh Market was having a buy one – get one sale on lobster tails. Having never worked with lobster before, I saw this as a great opportunity – I could get some practice with less of a financial investment. I decided to serve the lobster in a risotto after seeing a pretty simple recipe of Giada De Laurentiis’. And I had been wanting to work on my risotto skills since last cooking up risotto with Brussels Sprouts a few months back. I switched things up a bit from her recipe, but the idea is basically the same. Originally we were going to share this meal with a couple of friends, so the recipe below serves four. It ended up just being the two of us – and I’m not going to lie, having the leftovers for lunch today was definitely a bonus!
2 lobster tails (thawed if frozen)
4 cups seafood stock
4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1 cup chopped leeks
One small red shallot diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup brandy (we used Paul Masson VSOP)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
This recipe is great because you can cook the lobster ahead of time so that you will be able to focus strictly on the risotto stirring. Boil enough salted water to cover the lobster tails in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When boiling, add the lobster tails and let them sit for about 8 to 10 minutes. The shells will curl slightly and the lobster meat will turn white. Drain the water and transfer lobster tails to a cutting board and let them cool for 15 minutes or so. Then, using kitchen shears cut through the top shell lengthwise. Remove the lobster meat from the shell and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set the meat aside for later.
Pour the seafood stock into the same saucepan you boiled the lobster tails. Bring the stock to a boil, then keep it over low heat so that it will be nice and hot when it is stirred into the risotto.
In a separate, large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook the butter until it begins to foam and turn brown. This usually takes about 2 minutes. Throw in the leeks and red shallot and cook for roughly 3 more minutes. Then, add in the rice, stirring to coat it with the butter. Next, pour in the brandy and let it simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 more minutes. Take 1/2 cup of the warm stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Keep adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each addition of stock to absorb before adding in the next 1/2 cup. Stir, stir, stir and cook until the rice is tender. This took me about 20-25 minutes. Once the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the last tablespoon of butter and and 2 tablespoons of chives. Then, fold in the majority of the lobster meat and top it off with a bit of salt and pepper. When serving, arrange the last of the lobster meat on top of the risotto with the remaining chives.
A bowl of risotto was just enough for us for dinner, but if you need more, I’d suggest serving the dish with a side Caesar salad and a rustic French batard.