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.
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!
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
- 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.
- Saute the onion and zucchini in butter until soft.
- Add rice and sauté for several minutes.
- Add wine and saffron and let simmer for about five minutes.
- Add stock to the rice one cup at a time and reduce, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed.
- Repeat until the stock is gone and the risotto is soft and creamy but slightly al dente. Salt to taste.
- Heat the lobster meat in a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small pan.
- Arrange the lobster meat on the risotto, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
I just harvested the last of my fava beans in an effort to make way for more tomatoes in my garden. Fava beans (also called broad beans and horse or pigeon beans) aren’t actually a bean at all but a member of the pea family. Fava beans have a delicate flavor and buttery consistency which makes any dish special. I paired them with peas for two reasons. I love fava beans but I also really like green peas in risotto, plus it takes a mountain of fava bean pods to make enough fava beans. (You could also make this risotto without the fava beans and it would still be tasty). I harvested a large bowl of bean pods from my garden (about 10 or 12 cups). Favas require a double shelling process which is not hard but time consuming. How to shell fava beans. Once I removed the pods I had 2 cups which shrank to a scant 1 cup once I removed the second peel.
I usually don’t cook white rice but with risotto I had to make an exception. Arborio rice has a creamy quality that you just can’t get with brown rice, although I might give it a try next time. Luckily the fava beans, peas, pine nuts and greens add loads of nutrition to this dish. Even though it tastes and feels like comfort food this risotto is pretty healthful and low in fat. Favas are a good source of fiber, protein, folate. potassium, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus. (LiveStrong) The peas and greens add another nutritional boost. Plus I love the gorgeous green color. It tastes like Spring!
Fava and Spring Pea Risotto with Greens
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 quart vegetable broth
2 Tbsn olive oil
4 scallions, sliced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper(optional)
2 cups combination fava beans and shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
2 cups greens (spinach, arugula or fava leaves)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan (optional)
- Shell fava beans. First remove the outer shell (pod). I like to slit the seam open with a sharp knife. It’s okay if you slice through the beans. It actually makes them easier to shell. Then blanch in boiling water for one minute and put immediately in an ice bath. Then remove the second shell.How to shell fava beans
Heat a heavy pan (cast iron is great if you have it) and dry toast the pine nuts for a few minutes until they are fragrant and turning golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool.
- In a separate pan, bring broth plus one cup of water to a simmer
- In cast iron pan, add olive oil, scallions and rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice is opaque.
- Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until rice is tender (about 20 minutes) Add salt and pepper to taste. (Vegetable broths greatly differ in their saltiness which is why I add salt at the end).
- Add fava beans, peas and greens and cook until the greens wilt, 4 or 5 minutes.
- Fold in pine nuts and parmesan. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Add more water if it’s too dry. Serve hot.