The beauty of this risotto is that two lobsters feed six people. Steam the lobsters, shuck them from their shells, then use the shells to create a quick and savory broth. This broth is the essence of the risotto, which brightens up in color, texture, and taste with the addition of the chopped lobster meat. It’s a healthier, elegant alternative to the classic lobster roll recipe.
This recipe was featured as part of our Healthy Risotto round-up.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 (1-1/2-pound) whole live lobsters
- 2 1/2 quarts water, plus more for steaming the lobsters
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 medium leek, washed and coarsely chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup minced fresh chives
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
1Fill a large pot with a tightfitting lid with 1 inch of water and stir in the measured salt. Add a steamer rack to the pot. (If you don’t have a steamer rack, lightly bunch a long piece of foil so that it looks like a rope. Then make a figure eight out of the foil rope and set it in the pot.)
2Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters, head first, to the pot, cover, and return the water to a full boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a gentle boil until the lobsters are bright red, about 14 minutes from the time they go into the pot. Check their doneness by pulling on an antenna: If it comes out with no resistance, the lobster is done. Remove the lobsters to a rimmed baking sheet and let them sit until cool enough to handle. Wash out the large pot.
3Using your hands, twist and separate the tail from the body. Twist and remove both of the claws where they meet the lobster body; set the claws aside. Reserve the head and torso.
4Starting with the tail, remove the small, wispy flippers on the underside of the shell. Using a fork, pierce the exposed tail meat and slowly twist and pull it out of the shell in one piece. Rinse any white debris off of the tail meat and set it aside on a cutting board. Reserve the shell of the tail.
5Twist the claws and separate them from the legs; set the legs aside. Gently wiggle and pull the smaller part of the pincer shell off each claw. Using a seafood cracker, gently crack the claws, remove the meat, and set it aside on the cutting board. Crack the legs, remove the meat, and set it aside on the cutting board. Reserve the shells from the claws and the legs. Repeat with second lobster.
6Check the meat for any cartilage or shell and discard it. Chop the meat into 1/2-inch pieces, place in a medium bowl, and place in the refrigerator until needed. (You should have about 2 cups.)
7Rinse the reserved lobster shells, including the heads, of any residue. Place all the shells back in the large pot and add the 2 1/2 quarts of water, peppercorns, bay leaf, and leek. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour. Discard the large shells and strain the lobster broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium saucepan. Set the strained broth over low heat and keep it at a bare simmer.
8In a large wide pot or Dutch oven, heat the measured oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and a large pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
9Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the kernels start to crackle, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and let simmer, stirring often, until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 to 4 minutes. Pour a ladleful of the simmering lobster broth over the rice. Let simmer, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue adding the broth, stirring and letting it absorb, until the rice is al dente, about 20 to 30 minutes (you may not use up all of the broth). Taste as you go for doneness, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
10When the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in the reserved lobster meat, Parmesan, chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, Parmesan, and lemon juice as needed. Just before serving, loosen the risotto to the desired consistency with a little more broth or hot water and serve immediately. Drizzle each serving with olive oil.
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