Monday, February 13, 2012

Creamy Lobster Risotto [Zack]

Valentine's day is too hectic for Lauren and me to go out to dinner.  Restaurants charge a lot more for the meal and they are always over-crowded.  We prefer to cook at home instead.  It's more fun and romantic!

Valentine's day is an opportunity for you to show your loved one that you will do anything for them - even fearlessly kill a lobster!  Making a risotto is pretty simple, but it's also considered fancy, so it's the perfect Lover's Holiday dish.  Our chef friend Philippe at Particolare showed us a method that you can cook it in 18 minutes flat.

A favorite website of mine used to talk about making risotto for the ladies.  He said "it's great because you look like you are cooking your ass off when you are really just stirring rice."  He's right :)

Because this particular recipe uses a lobster stock, it takes a good amount of prep before the big show.  If you make the stock and pick the meat the day before, this recipe is manageable and will make the risotto heavenly.


Step 1:  Preparing the lobster meat and stock.  (If you want to skip doing this recipe the long way, buy 2 pre-steamed lobster tails either fresh or frozen, extract the meat and make a quick stock using the shells.)

Get a large, lidded pot of boiling salted water going and plunge your unlucky lobster friend into it head-first.  Replace the lid and leave the room if you need to.  You can keep the rubber bands on the claws.

If they are about 1.5 lbs like mine, cook them for 6-7 minutes.  They are finished when they are a bright crimson color.  I guess the restaurant Red Lobster = dead lobster.

Take it out of the pot and let it cool down before de-shelling.  First, twist the tail until it separates from the body.  Clean out any tamale (the green stuff) by using some water from the sink.

The tail meat is the best part of the lobster.  Straighten the tail out and cut down the inside of it until you can peel back the shell.

Twist the claws so they separate from the carapace.  Open up the claw until the smaller part separates and you can extract the meat.  Bash the larger part of the claw with the bottom of a wine bottle until the shell cracks and you can take the meat out.  Then cut along the upper arms on both sides longways until you can peel the shell away.  Take the legs and roll over them with a wine bottle until the meat pops out.  Save all of the shells for your lobster stock!!

If you need visual directions on how to extract the meat, refer to this youtube link.

Take the shells and put them into a large pot and cover with water.  Add 1 sliced onion, 1 medium sliced carrot, 2 bay leaves and simmer for 30 mins.

After 30 minutes, strain the stock to extract the shells.  Your lobster stock will be a nice deep orange color from the fat of the lobster.

Step 2:  Making the risotto:

Prepare your ingredient for your mise en place.  Dice the onions, put your 5 cups of stock and wine into a small pot over low heat, and have your grated parmesan reggiano and lobster meat right next to the stove.

Put on some nice slow jams and invite your significant other into the kitchen to watch the show.  Light some candles and explain in a smooth Italian accent that you are preparing the finest risotto they will ever have had.  If you use good ingredients and cook it to al dente, I promise it will be as good or better than a restaurant's.

Put a large lidded pot over medium heat, add some olive oil and your diced onions.  Cook them until they sizzle a bit and become translucent.  Then add your Arborio rice and give it a stir.  Pour in 2 ladle-fulls of the stock and give it a stir.

Cover the pot and then either swirl the whole pot around or stir the risotto every 30 seconds to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

When you see the liquid has been absorbed, add 2 more ladles of liquid, stir and recover the pot.  Repeat this process until the risotto is creamy and has a little bit of a bite to it.  It should take 18 minutes.  If you need, you can add a touch more water or stock to achieve the results you want with your rice.

Take the pot off of the heat, add in the 1 1/2 cups of your parmesan cheese.  The cheese will combine with the starch from the rice and make it very creamy.

Stir in your lobster meat and serve immediately.

You can accompany it with a fresh salad or some nice roasted winter vegetables with lemon squeezed over them.

If this doesn't get you some brownie points, you are in trouble.


1 medium-sized lobster (or 2 tails if you can't bear killing one)
1/2 carrot
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups / 200g grated parmesan cheese
2 cups Arborio rice
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups lobster stock (or chicken stock)

1 cup lobster meat (from the above lobster)

1 small diced red or white onion
2 T olive oil

If you're trying to impress in the kitchen, turn on Maxwell's album Urban Hang Suite 


  1. Zack, where did you get the lobster?

  2. There's a really cool Chinatown in Antwerp. There's a very ethnic main street right by the Central Station that has a few seafood stores. They were really expensive, but it's worth it for love....

    A really great butcher shop is right off of that street too - it's the only one I have found in Antwerp that carries interesting cuts of meat. Any place that has a band saw and pork belly is cool with me.