Friday, February 20, 2015

Lobster Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

On Valentine's Day we kind of forgot to make reservations at the restaurant we had picked out... so we ended up at home cooking dinner instead.  That's always fine by me though, it's cheaper and just as fun and delicious.  Making lobster seemed like a very cliche thing to make on Valentine's Day, so off to the store we went.  Lobster Risotto is what we decided on.  I am a huge fan of risotto for several different reasons.  It's relatively cheap to make, it's filling and it can feed a lot of people.   It turned out great!  Here's how to make it:

What you'll need:

1 1/2 lb. lobster tails
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, small dice
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 lemon, zest and juice
3/4 cup of white wine, I used Sauvignon Blanc
8 cups lobster or chicken stock***
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Parsley, for garnish

***Seafood stock is completely optional.  Feel free to use all chicken stock.  I wanted to get the most out of the lobster tails I bought so I made a stock with them.  I also had some shrimp shells in the freezer that I was saving for stock, so I used those too but you can leave them out.  This is a great chance to use what you have to make a quick stock.***

For the lobster stock:

Shells from 1 1/2 lb. lobster tails
Shell from 1 lb. shrimp (optional)
1 onion, halved
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 bay leaves
10 parsley stems

Heat 1 gallon of water in a large pot.  Season with a big pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and add the lobster tails.  Cook for about 8 minutes until the lobster tails are bright red and have curled up.  Set aside on a plate to cool slightly.  DO NOT throw away the water!

When the tails have cooled enough to handle, separate the meat from the shells.  Chop the cooked lobster meat into bite size pieces and squeeze half of the lemon juice over it.  Set aside.

Add the shells back to the pot of water along with the shrimp shells, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, parsley, bay leaves and parsley stems.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for at least 2 hours.  When the stock is done, strain and set aside.  You should be left with about 8-10 cups of stock.  While the stock cooks, prepare the asparagus.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Trim the ends off the asparagus.  Lay on a sheet tray and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Roast in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until slightly charred and tender.  Cut into 1 inch pieces and set aside.

Now it's time for the risotto.  In a medium pot, heat 8 cups of the lobster stock.  If your stock didn't give at least 8 cups, you can cut it with some chicken stock.  Keep the stock on low.

 In a large pot over medium heat, melt a half stick of butter and 2 tbsp  of olive oil.  When the butter has melted add the onion.  Season generously with salt and cook until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook a minute more, then add the Arborio rice.  Stir, making sure to coat all of the grains of rice in fat.  Add the zest of the lemon and half the juice along with the white wine.

Stir until almost all of the wine has been absorbed, then slowly start adding the stock, about 1 cup at a time.  Stir until the stock is absorbed then add another cup.  Continue this process, adding a pinch of salt here and there, until the rice plumps up and is creamy and tender.  Taste along the way for the tenderness of the rice.  When the rice is al dente, it's done.  Turn the heat to low.  You may have some stock left over.

When the risotto is ready, add the rest of the butter and Parmesan cheese.  Stir vigorously until the butter and cheese have melted.  This makes the risotto extra creamy.  Stir in the reserved asparagus and lobster meat and stir until warmed through.

Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.  Enjoy!  Be sure to check out my recipe for Mushroom Risotto!

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