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Creamy Tomato & Lobster Risotto

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Makes 2 main or 4 side servings.

1 (1 1/4 pound) live lobster
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 finely diced large shallot
3/4 cup Arborio rice (risotto)**
4-5 cups low-sodium broth, or as much as needed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes with juices, preferably San Marzano tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon butter, not optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Good extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Heat broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it's hot, lower to a simmer.

Bring a large pot (big enough to submerge the lobster completely) of salted water to a boil. To kill the lobster, hold a butcher knife over its head, about an inch behind its eyes; puncture and slice forward in one motion. Plunge the lobster head first into the boiling water for 7-8 minutes. The shell should be bright red, though the meat will finish cooking in the risotto. Remove the lobster from the pot, rinse, and allow to cool.

To remove the meat, twist off the claws; crack them open with nut crackers, and extract the meat. Bend the lobster's body back from the tail until it cracks; remove it. Then push the tail meat out. Crack the lobster body open and break off the legs; use a skewer to push the meat out of the legs.

For the risotto, saute the shallots in olive oil and butter. Add the Arborio rice; toast for 1 minute. Cook the risotto at a slow simmer, adding heated broth ½ cupful at a time. Most cookbooks will tell to stir continuously; I don’t, and you don't have to either. You can stir occasionally; just make sure the risotto absorbs the liquid before adding more. It will become tender and creamy as it cooks. Season will some salt about halfway through so it blends well, and add the white wine. Add the tomatoes with their juices. 4-5 cups of broth works for this recipe, but use more or less as needed. I prefer a soupier risotto for this recipe since it makes the lobster that much more tender. Add the lobster meat to the risotto, and cook 4-5 minutes.

It takes about 20 minutes total for the risotto to become completely cooked. Taste it -- it should be wonderfully creamy and thick. It’s best al dente, which means it should still retain some firmness when you chew it. Season with salt and pepper. Remove risotto from heat, and add 1 tablespoon butter for added creaminess. Add fresh parsley, and stir well.

Plate your risotto. Top it with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.**I used 3/4 cup of Arborio instead of 1/2 cup as I would normally do since I used both tomatoes and more wine. Plus, I wanted more risotto to balance the rich lobster. If you choose to use less risotto, then just reduce the amount of liquid you use.

- Recipe courtesy of Susan Russo

 

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