Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Champagne Lobster Risotto ~ Homemade Dinner Date Night ~

Even though we usually eat dinner at home together, sometimes it's nice to make an extra special decadent dinner for a little at home date night. For Christmas I got a wonderful cookbook, Kitchen Revelry by Ali Larter. There was a recipe for champagne lobster risotto that I had been eyeing as a perfect date night type of meal. So our last Sunday of 2013, I decided to take the day and dedicate it to this dinner. I found some lobster tails on sale at the market so I knew this recipe would be perfect. Plus I had never made risotto before so I was up for the challenge.

For starters, you will need to cook the lobster tails and make a lobster stock. (If you don't have the time to do this you can use Better than Bouillon.) I used Emeril Lagasse's recipe as a guide.

For the Lobster Stock:
- 2 lobster tails
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 2 ribs celery
- 6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped into large pieces
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 small fennel bulb
- 1/2 head of garlic cut horizontally
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- water to cover

First you want to steam your lobster tails. I steamed them in a large stockpot/steamer for 10 minutes or until they turn a bright red. Take them out and allow the tails to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle you can cut down the back of the lobster tail with scissors and remove the meat. You will also want to devein the lobster tail and then set aside in the fridge for later use.

With the empty lobster shells, you can throw those in a stock pot with the vegetable oil and sauté for about 5 - 10 minutes. Add in the celery, tomatoes, onion, carrot, thyme, fennel, garlic, salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients plus 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the liquid is reduced in half. About 4 hours. Taste the stock and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Once the liquid has reduced and is seasoned, strain the stock through cheesecloth and set aside for the risotto.

*Note: This lobster stock made more than what the risotto recipe called for so I let the stock cool, poured it in a reusable container and refrigerated it for a few hours. Once the stock is nice and cold you can transfer it to the freezer and it will keep for a few months.

For the Champagne Lobster Risotto you will need:
*Note: The original recipe was 4 servings, so I halved everything for just the two of us.

- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/8 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup diced white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions (white and light green parts only)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 1/2 cup Brute Champagne
- 1 3/4 cup lobster stock
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- lobster meat from two tails cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

*Also if you don't like Champagne or don't drink, please feel free to substitute the champagne with additional lobster stock. The recipe will still taste delicious!

Start by melting the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add in both onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add in the rice and stir for a few minutes. Add in the champagne and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add in the lobster stock and bring it back up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the rice is tender, stirring frequently, about 25-30 minutes. ( The important thing to remember when making risotto is to stir constantly. If you notice the risotto getting a little dry then you can add more lobster stock. ) Reduce the heat to low and add in the parmesan, lobster and red chili flakes if you decided to use them. Stir the risotto for a few minutes until it is thickened and reached a desired consistency, but you still want it moist and creamy. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to a shallow bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Don't forget your glass of champagne to sip on while you cook! 
I added a few pomegranate seeds for show. 

I set the table in between stirring the risotto. Make sure you stir frequently and add any additional stock as needed to keep it from getting too dry. 

Chop up the lobster meat into bite sized pieces and gather the final ingredients to be added.

I also sliced some lemon for a garnish. 

Light some candles and enjoy the indulgent and extravagant fancy dinner you just made for you and your sweetheart!


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