In his book Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen, renowned chef Charlie Palmer offers elegant dishes, like this lobster risotto, in an approachable way, which even includes waterproof and stainproof pages.
- Three 1/4-pound lobsters
- 6-8 Cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 Pound Arborio rice
- 1 Cup dry white wine
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 Cups grapeseed oil
- 1 medium butternut squash, roasted, flesh scooped out
- 3/4 Cups mascarpone cheese
- 4 Cups baby arugula
- 2 Tablespoons minced chives
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. To kill the lobsters instantly, sharply insert a chef’s knife between their eyes. Slip the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes (remember that the meat will cook some more when it’s added to the rice).
Use tongs to pull the lobsters out of the pot and set them aside until they're cool enough to handle.
Twist the tails and claws off the lobsters and, using a kitchen shears, split the tails lengthwise. Remove the meat (discarding the veins), and cut it into chunks. Crack the claws and knuckles with a mallet to free the meat.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer, then lower the heat to keep the broth hot.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add the rice and stir until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes
Now you’re going to stir liquid into the rice, a little at a time: Add the wine first, and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs it. Begin stirring in the hot stock one cup at a time, waiting until each addition is fully absorbed before adding more. Continue adding stock just until the rice is tender and creamy but still offers a bit of resistance to the tooth when you chew it — that’s al dente. You may have some stock left over.
To make the vanilla oil, split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, and reserve.
Pour oil into a small saucepan and place over very low heat. Whisk in the vanilla seeds and toss in the pods as well. Cook until the oil registers 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and set aside to steep and cool. When cool, pour the oil into a jar with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. The vanilla oil will keep for 2 weeks.
Gently fold in the chunks of lobster, heating them through.
Fold in the squash and the mascarpone. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Fold in the arugula at the last moment, just wilting it in. Spoon the piping-hot risotto into large, shallow soup bowls, sprinkle with chives and finish with a good drizzle of the vanilla oil.