Lobster Risotto


Lobster Risotto

What happens when Maine meets Italiano meets Mexico?  Lobster Risotto, of course!  My new friend, Claudia, an Italian who lives in Mexico, was recently visiting my Maine neighbor, Lydia.  We were sitting at the lake one afternoon, enjoying the sunshine and the view, when the conversation turned to food, as it often does (occupational hazard).  Summers in Maine often involve Lobster Bakes and the inevitable leftover lobsters which the next day become lobster rolls, lobster salad or lobster fra diavlo.  Claudia makes a wonderful lobster risotto whenever she is in Maine visiting Lydia and graciously offered to share her recipe as a Guest Chef on Goodmotherdiet.
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Lobster Risotto is a great way to use extra lobster but it is delicious enough on it’s own to buy lobster just to make this dish. It’s also a good way to get two lobsters to feed 4 or 5 people. Claudia likes to make a homemade lobster broth by simmering the lobster shells with fresh herbs for 20 minutes to an hour which infuses the broth with lobster flavor and gives it a richness that really makes the dish.  She also recommends using Albariño white wine but sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio are good substitutes.  Risotto is usually made with Arborio rice which is an Italian short-grain rice, named after the town of Arborio, in Italy, where it is grown. When cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to its higher starch content; but blends well with other flavors.  Carnaroli rice, grown in Northern Italy, is a medium grained high starch rice which is also great for risotto.  (Long grain rice doesn’t work quite as well.)  The resulting dish is very flavorful with a rich and creamy consistency.  For such a simple dish, Lobster Risotto is quite elegant. Thank you Claudia!

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Lobster Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup Arborio rice
1 glass Albariño white wine (or sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)

2  1 pound and half soft shell Maine lobsters, cooked
8 cups home made lobster broth (directions below)
pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1/4 cup Parsley, minced
1/4 cup Basil, minced
pinch of Saffron
1 zucchini, diced
3 tablespoons of extra virgin Olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
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  • Place the shells, a few sprigs of parsley and basil in a stockpot, cover with water and simmer for at least an hour.  Remove shells, strain and keep broth hot.

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  • Saute the onion and zucchini in butter until soft.

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  • Add rice and sauté for several minutes.

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  • Add wine and saffron and let simmer for about five minutes.

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  • Add stock to the rice one cup at a time and reduce, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed.

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  •  Repeat until the stock is gone and the risotto is soft and creamy but slightly al dente. Salt to taste.

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  • Heat the lobster meat in a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small pan.

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  • Arrange the lobster meat on the risotto, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Maine Lobster Bake


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Maine is famous for it’s lobsters and summer is not considered complete here without at least one old fashioned lobster bake.  Traditional lobster dinners include lobster with drawn butter, corn on the cob and steamers (Ipswich clams) and sometimes potatoes or eggs, often served on these inexpensive, but iconic, blue platters that mimic retro diner tablecloths.   I tried lobster for the first time on my first trip to Maine, way back when my husband and I were just dating.  He went to summer camp in Maine as a kid and he has many fond memories (and good friends) and still loves to come here.   I’m pretty sure he brought me up here all those years ago as a relationship test, which luckily I passed with flying colors.  I learned how to eat lobster, waterskied in Bear Pond and slept on a cot in one of the old cabins, three actions which, I’m sure, made me marriage worthy.  My three sons followed in their father’s footsteps and consider themselves Wigwammers to the core, first as campers, then as counselors.    It’s no coincidence that we have a house across the lake from Camp Wigwam and come to Maine as often as possible.  It’s a little slice of heaven on earth.

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We were lucky enough to be invited to an authentic Maine Lobster Bake that was catered by our friend, Tom DeLois.  He provided and prepared everything, freshly procured that morning, including the seaweed which they gathered by boat from the ocean.  I was not involved in the preparations in any way, except for taking lots of pictures to document the process, which is simple but takes some effort.  It’s also a great way to feed a large group in a casual but festive manner.

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This technique can easily be done on the beach but we used a flat gravel driveway.  Just use something to elevate the cooking surface, a flat metal sheet or galvanized tub.  Layer your chosen ingredients with seaweed and  light the fire.  Tom and his crew were veterans and really knew what they were doing.  I have to admit it was nice to have someone else take care of dinner…

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In an effort to minimize damage to the area, they cleared the gravel down to the bare dirt, then set up the cooking area with four concrete blocks and a metal tray.  They stacked layers of wood and newspaper.  The four metal sides(on the ground in the photo) are to block the wind if necessary.

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The first layer is wet seaweed which they collected themselves from the ocean.

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Next is bags of clams (steamers), lobsters and foil wrapped red skinned potatoes.

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Topped with raw eggs and corn on the cob.

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Wrap everything tightly with aluminum foil.

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Finish with another thick layer of wet seaweed.

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Light the fire and cook about 45 minutes.  TIP:  When the eggs are hard cooked, you know it’s done.

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The unveiling…

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One of the nice things about a traditional lobster bake is the leftovers!  The next day I made a composed salad with the remaining lobster, eggs, potatoes and corn cut off the cob.  I added some chopped tomatoes and scallions and arranged it all on a bed of fresh romaine.

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I also made a big pot of clam chowder with the leftover clams and potatoes.  I sautéed a couple of chopped onions and garlic in butter, then added chopped potatoes, vegetable broth and milk and cooked it all for an hour or so until it’s slightly thickened.  Add the clams toward the end and cook another 20 minutes or so on low heat.  Don’t let it boil or the clams will get touch and chewy, like rubber bands.  Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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