Sunday, February 24, 2019

Red Carpet Worthy Oscar Watching Dinner: Indulgent Lobster-Champagne Risotto

This Oscars are tonight! Even if you'll be watching in your pajamas from your living can get the "red carpet treatment" by cooking an indulgent meal to enjoy as you watch the winners announced! To me, nothing is quite as indulgent as creamy risotto...especially if it includes lobster and champagne! My Indulgent Lobster-Champagne Risotto is the perfect meal for enjoying the Oscars tonight --- it's flavored with a bit of pesto and parmesan cheese, with plenty of tender lobster meat. If you're intimidated by the idea of making risotto...don't be! It's not hard, but you do have to be patient and have 20 or so minutes uninterrupted to stand at the stove and stir and add the broth as it cooks. Put on some good music...your patience will be rewarded with one amazing meal! 

Indulgent Lobster-Champagne Risotto
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (makes two servings):
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice [NOTE: can use Arborio rice]
  • 1/2 cup champagne
  • 4 cups warm chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. basil, chopped
  • 1 tbs. parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs. prepared pesto
  • 1 cup chopped cooked lobster meat 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and rice. Cook while stirring, until the onion softens and the rice begins to toast -- approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the champagne and cook while briskly stirring, until the rice absorbs most of the champagne.
Step 2: Add 1 cup of the warmed chicken broth. Cook while stirring, until the rice has absorbed most of the broth. Repeat this step two more times (for a total of 3 cups broth) -- until the rice is al dente and is creamy. If the rice isn't cooked after the third cup of broth is absorbed, feel free to add a bit more broth and continue cooking while stirring. With a bit of practice, you'll know when your risotto is at the proper stage.
Step 3: Turn off the heat. Add the butter, parmesan, half and half, basil, parsley, and pesto. Stir to combine and let the risotto rest for a few minutes while you pour drinks. Just before plating the risotto, stir in the cooked lobster.
Step 4: Add the finished risotto to two shallow bowls or rimmed plates. Top with additional parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley. I served our risotto with toasted garlic bread, but a simple green salad would be a nice accompaniment too.
This risotto definitely lives us to its indulgent claim! It's creamy and decadent from the addition of cheese and half and half...and the sweet chunks of lobster meat are a special treat for sure. We loved the background flavor of basil and pesto in the finished dish. No lobster on hand? No problem! Simply substitute 1/2 lb. cooked shrimp cut into bite-size chunks...crawfish tails...or lump crab meat. With this meal, you'll definitely win the award for Most Decadent Dinner tonight...even if you enjoy it while wearing pajamas!

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