Culinary Arts class – Week 3

Last week’s class was all about Grains, Potatoes and Vegetables. We talked about all of them, but the focus of the class was making Risotto. As you all know, I made Risotto for the first time about a month ago. I never made Risotto before and I saw the Cooking Light recipe for Lobster Risotto and decided that I needed to make it. I’m so happy it turned out well since I spent $35 on Lobster to go into the dish. I think it goes without saying that I would be quite ticked off if the dish was a failure. ;)

For those of you that aren’t very familiar with Risotto, it is rice that is cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. Risottos are usually made using short-grain rice with the stock/broth being added gradually while the rice is stirred frequently. Cooking it this way leads the rice to release its starch giving the final product a nice and creamy texture.

The broth that you use may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based. There are many ingredients you can add to give your risotto flavor. When I made my risotto in class, I cooked my rice in onion and butter to coat each grain with some fat. Then I started to add in my chicken stock gradually (which by the way should be hot) and I stirred it gently. I continued to do this until it was done. You’ll have to taste it several times to make sure it’s ready. Just make sure that you don’t add the broth too soon. The broth has to be absorbed before you add in more. If you add it too quickly your rice will not be done once you add in all of the broth. I just chose to add Parmesan cheese to my risotto. And let me tell you – it was perfect!!

My next risotto experiment is going to involve a really good smoked bacon. Bacon makes everything better, doesn’t it?

What’s your favorite Risotto flavor?

A little taste of heaven: Simple Lobster Risotto

I’ve always loved cooking magazines. I used to subscribe to them all. But a few years ago I decided I needed to cut down on the amount of magazines that I got and I let most of the subscriptions run out. I always liked the recipes in Cooking Light magazine, but I didn’t care for the magazine itself. There was too much exercise, travel, and other stuff in it that I just wasn’t into. So I stopped getting it.

Fast forward to now. I was able to get a free subscription to the magazine.  I actually really enjoyed the magazine and the way they’ve moved forward with it. It’s definitely an improvement. And I am very happy with a lot of the recipes in the magazine.  There are many new ones on my list to try.

I was paging through the January/February 2011 issue  and I came across a recipe for Simple Lobster Risotto. Now I must confess – I’ve never made Risotto before. So don’t ask me why I went out on the limb to make Lobster Risotto for my first time. But I did!

I had a heck of a time finding medium grain rice here in the city, but I finally found some. We went to Reading Terminal Market to get the lobster and $35 later I was ready to start making it.

Ingredients:

  • 4  cups  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3  (5-ounce) American lobster tails
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, divided
  • 1  cup  uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
  • 3/4  cup  frozen green peas, thawed

Preparation:

Bring broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lobster; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove lobster from pan; cool for 5 minutes. Remove meat from cooked lobster tails, reserving shells. Chop meat. Place shells in a large zip-top plastic bag. Coarsely crush shells using a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Return crushed shells to the broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Strain shell mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving broth; discard solids. Return broth mixture to saucepan; keep warm over low heat. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture, and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 2 tablespoons broth mixture. Add the remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Remove from heat, and stir in lobster, the reserved 2 tablespoons broth mixture, 2 tablespoons butter, and green peas.

We don’t care for peas, so I left those out. In my opinion they are really only there to give the dish some color.

My thoughts: It was AMAZING. So flavorful. I love that I only used FOUR ingredients and it came out perfect. I didn’t use any seasonings – no salt, no pepper, nothing. And it was delicious. I was very pleased with how the dish came out – especially since it was my first time making Risotto. And I can definitely say it won’t be the last time I make it.