On those days where I have to get up earlier than I wanted to, avoid puddles during my morning run, sit through back to back meetings, notice there is a run in my stocking, AND have my train delayed between stations, I can’t wait to get home and make myself something decadent for dinner and enjoy it with a big mug of wine.
I don’t cook full meals for just myself that often, but when I do, this is by far my favorite.
After a hectic day I definitely don’t have the time or inclination to make a whole lobster. Honestly, even after a relaxing day, I prefer to just cook lobster tails. I tend to wait until Whole Foods is having a crazy sale and then stock up on lobster tails since you can defrost and cook them quickly… If you wait until a good sale you can get these for about $6 a tail —practically a steal.
When you’re ready to cook your lobster tails just use scissors or kitchen sheers to cut through the underside of the shell and then peel shell off. If you save the shells in a plastic bag in your freezer, when you get enough, you can make a lobster bisque (I’ll be posting a recipe for that next week). I know this recipe calls for a lot of butter but honestly you’ll only be eating a tiny bit of it. The butter is for the poaching liquid, which will give you the most tender lobster you can imagine. One day I’ll do a post on proper butter poaching, which involves a longer process called a buerre mont, but for now, I think just melting the butter is just fine.
As for the risotto part… I won’t lie to you guys… this isn’t a no-fail, ‘throw it in the oven and come back after 20 minutes’ dish. Risotto takes a bit of time and a lot of patience, but, if you love it, learning to make it at home will make you very, very happy. Some tips:
1) Use the right rice! The creaminess of risotto comes almost entirely from the release of starch from the rice— so you want to get a high starch, short-grain, round rice. Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Baldo are varieties that make a fabulous risotto and are available in specialty shops, but the most common and most accessible risotto rice for most people is Arborio.
2) Use warm stock. You should have a pot of stock simmering on very low heat waiting to be used for the risotto.
3)Resist the temptation to speed up the cooking process by adding too much stock at once. In order to get that creamy consistency you want the rice to release as much starch as possible and in order to do that the grains of rice have to rub up against each other. They can’t do that if there’s to much liquid in the pot.
4) Stir you risotto. As I mentioned above, you want your rice grains to rub up against each other so you need to stir them. At the same time, over-stiring it can make it come out a bit gummy. You basically want to stir about every 30-45 seconds.
5) Finally, use an appropriately sized pot. I hate to stress it again… but this is all about the rice grains getting to rub up on each other. If your pot is too big they’ll be too far apart to do that. For this recipe, which serves two, I use a large sauce pan or medium sized pot.
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 cup of Arborio or other risotto rice
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 lobster tails
- 2 sticks of butter, plus two table spoons(optional)
- 2 tablespoons of marscapone cheese (optional)
- 2 lemons
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- In a large pot, heat the stock until it is warmed through. Keep it over very low heat as you cook the risotto.
- In a small or medium sized pot, sauté the shallots in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After 2 minutes add a sizable pinch of salt and the rice to the pot. Stir the rice so that each grain is coated in olive oil. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add about ½-1 cup of warm stock to the pot and stir the rice every 30-45 second until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Repeat this step until most of the liquid is used and the rice is cooked al dente.* This should take about 20-25 minutes. Make sure that before you add more stock the liquid in the pot is mostly absorbed.
- When the rice is al dente, add the zest of two lemons, two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of butter and/or the marscapone cheese and stir. Salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
- For the lobster: In a small saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the lobster tails to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes. If the lobster tails are not fully submerged in the butter, spoon butter over the top continuously while you cook them.